Anywhere there is an online presence there is the possibility of being scammed. The internet, with its global reach and the ability for users to remain basically anonymous, has become a playground for scammers and hackers from all over the world.
Unfortunately online dating is not immune to scammers, and in this post I’m going to be covering a few of the more common ones, and how you can avoid dating site scams.
Although fake dating site profiles are not always attached to people up to no good, weeding through bogus profiles of members and trying to determine who is legitimate can be both time consuming and annoying. I’ve known of men masquerading as women on internet dating sites just for a bit of fun. They message guys pretending to be really interested in them, but behind the scenes are only stringing them along for a laugh at their expense. Often these people will just hijack some pics of a beautiful woman from the internet somewhere and upload them to the fake profile.
Other fake profiles can have more insidious intentions, such as being used to lure unsuspecting men into a scam; the most common being to fleece money or to get some personal details for identity theft.
Once you have a bit of experience with online dating you can pick a fake profile fairly easily. Avoid communicating with women who refuse to show a photo of themselves. Ideally a legitimate profile will have at least 3 or 4 photos of the girl in various places. This helps to prove that the person depicted in the profile is really the person you are communicating with. Also check out the information they provide. Have they been thorough in offering up some details about themselves and what they are looking for? Just use your common sense and take your time with communicating. Keep the conversation very light until you are certain you are talking to a genuine person.
Another thing that can happen with profiles is the posting of old pictures. This happens with dating sites the world over, and is certainly not restricted to sites in Asia. Both men and women are guilty of this, posting pics of what they looked like in their 20s when they are now mid-40s. The best way to determine that someone looks like their profile photos is to chat with them on cam in a program such as Skype.
Asking For Money
This one is more common is Asian countries, Russia, Ukraine and Northern Africa. It’s nowhere near as common in Western cultures when it comes to internet dating. Sometimes this can be a scam, where the woman pretends to be interested in you, and perhaps says she wants to meet you, but her only intention is to get money out of you. Other times the lady on the other end of the computer might genuinely like you, but still views you as an ATM, figuring you’re a “rich foreigner” and can afford it. Some people do this as a business, setting up internet cafes and having dozens of girls working the dating sites with the sole intention of coercing money out of lovesick foreign men.
No legitimate single woman from Asia or anywhere else should ask you for money in the first few casual conversations. If she does, cut the contact immediately. Even if the girl and her family are poor, asking for money from a complete stranger is a major red flag and shouldn’t be indulged. Really there shouldn’t be any monetary transactions of any kind until you have at least met her in person. The only exception to this in the early stages might be to send her some small amounts just to cover the internet costs so you can freely chat whenever you like, but that would be the only concession I would make if I hadn’t yet met her in the flesh. You don’t yet know her or her circumstances. She could be anybody, and you don’t want to suffer the humiliation of being scammed for cash. It doesn’t matter what excuses she might put forward for needing money. She doesn’t know you and has no right to ask you to pay her bills, cover her brother’s college tuition, or any of the other myriad of reasons someone might ask you for money.
Get to know her and, if possible, meet her in person as soon as you can so you know if there is the potential of a real relationship there or not.
Premium Phone Number Scam
This one is quite common on dating sites in Australia, and probably happens in other parts of the world, too. Anyone who watches late night TV will know what these premium phone number deals are all about. The ads on TV sucker some guy into calling a hot chick at a rate of around $5 per minute.
In order to get some extra business, some of these women set up bogus profiles on dating sites pretending they are looking to meet their dream man. She’ll have some really sexy and pretty photos and a lovely sounding profile message. Usually she will send a message to a guy asking for his phone number. The guy gives her his phone number and by some miracle she calls him right away (in the real world this almost never happens). The woman will then say that she can’t talk for long, but asks the guy to call her back, giving him a premium service landline number. The unsuspecting guy calls back and is kept on the line with sweet talk while racking up a $5 per minute phone bill, of which the woman receives a sizeable cut.
It’s very rare that a legitimate single woman will want your phone number right away, and even rarer that she’ll call you so early on after only one or two messages online. The phone number she asks you to call her back on will give the game away at any rate, so long as you are diligent.
They Offer You Large Sums Of Money
This one is usually either a money laundering scam, where they want to disperse their ill-gotten gains into your bank account to wash the money, or it can be a way of stealing your details, or scamming a transaction fee out of you. Forget the promise of large monetary rewards for your services. Avoid requests like this like the plague.
Things To Watch Out For
- They profess strong emotions for you, maybe even say they love you, very early on in your conversations. Major red flag.
- Asking for money, particularly when you haven’t actually met the person, should always be considered a red flag. The same with asking for gifts and favours.
- Something about their online profile looks fake.
- They have no photos, or only one photo.
- Their profile photos either look familiar, or appears to have been scanned from a magazine.
- People offering you large sums of money and requesting your bank account details. Don’t touch it, no matter how real it sounds.
- The person you are chatting to is inconsistent with what they say, meaning they might be chatting to a whole bunch of men and running a scam and have forgotten what ‘stories’ they’ve told you.
- Poorly-written and ambiguous messages, perhaps even calling you the wrong name.
Tips So You Don’t Get Scammed
- Take your time and really get to know the person.
- Don’t give out too many personal details too soon.
- Never send money to a person you haven’t met.
- Never agree to receive large sums of cash from someone you don’t know.
- Try to communicate on social media as well as via the dating site. This will help you ascertain whether they really are who they say they are.
- Chat via video such as Skype.
- Only give out phone numbers and other contact information once you feel comfortable in doing so. Don’t let yourself be pressured.
- Never divulge financial details or bank account information over the internet; especially if you’ve never met the person in real life.
- Keep a watchful eye for inconsistencies in both their communication to you, and any images they post or send you.
- Never pay for an airline ticket so they can come to your country and meet you. Buy your own ticket and go to their country instead. In the first instance this is the wisest choice.
- Do a Google search of their profile information to make sure it hasn’t merely been copied from somewhere else.
- Do a search of their photos in Google images or on scam alert sites.
Overall, Internet Dating Is quite Safe
Don’t let the above information put you off trying to find love on the internet. I found the love of my life on a dating site called Filipino Cupid and I couldn’t be happier. I recently married my Filipina right here in the Philippines.
This post is designed to show you what to be aware of and to encourage you to use diligence when searching for love online. If you take your time to get to know someone and don’t ignore obvious red flags, then you’ll be fine. You won’t get scammed. Chances are, with a little bit of patience you will find your dream girl just like I have. It’s well worth it.
Good luck and happy searching!