‘Don’t Give Money to Your Matches — Ever.’

online dating dangers scammerseHarmony is a place where two people can meet, fall in love and be really happy. I see it every single day and it is the reason I work here. Over one million people have found love through our site. It’s amazing.

On the flip side, however, there are some people out there who come to dating sites, and many other types of websites, with bad intentions. It is so important to be smart and have the basic information as you use the internet for a vast number of things, whether it is banking, looking for jobs, buying or selling anything — as well as finding relationships online. Here are some basic rules to live by in the relationship area:

1. Do not EVER, EVER, give money to someone you are talking to online. Even if you have talked with them for months and feel a strong love connection, don’t do it. If they ask you for money because they are struggling, or want to come see you but say they don’t have funds for a plane ticket, or have some sort of emergency, or want you to invest in a business that sounds too good to be true — end the conversation!  Think about it — would you ask someone you’ve never met before for help financially? If you are on eHarmony and this happens – let us know immediately.  Some of these stories can seem so convincing, but it typically ends the same way – with money lost and maybe even some of your heart. So please let that be a personal boundary of yours at all times.

2. If someone you have been talking to online emails you a link to click on, saying it’s a personal profile or a site where they have more personal photos you can look at, do not click on it (or copy and paste the link in your browser). This may be a way for this person to get access to your personal information, gain access to your accounts or even download a virus to your computer.  This is called phishing, and fraud suspects are great at making authentic looking login pages for your bank, dating site, etc., that are used to capture your credentials if you log in on a bogus, fraudulent site. Their goal is to take over your account, so just don’t click on any links that people send to you.

3. Please remember that if you haven’t actually met the person you are talking to online, you don’t really know them. People can proclaim to be anything in writing. Talk is cheap. If someone is really into you and they happen to live far away, they will find ways for the relationship to progress via Skype or Face Time. The best thing you can do is to stay guarded and aware on some level until you actually can spend time (in person!) with someone you are interested in.

4. Take it slow and do not share personal information. NEVER give out banking information, credit card numbers, your social security number, etc. Be very wary of premature declarations of love or requests for sexy photos from your online crush. Don’t fall too fast for someone you’ve never met. Again, you don’t know who you’re actually falling for.

Just like you would be cautious entering into a relationship with someone you met at a coffee shop — giving it time to see what the person is all about — the same rules apply to online dating. Generally speaking, it takes at least a good six months to really have a sense of what someone is like. If you educate yourself with these basic safety guidelines, you will be better off and more successful in your search for love.

See all of eHarmony’s SAFETY TIPS.

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