Internet users should be aware of the people they meet on dating websites online as more and more people fall prey for internet dating scams. They may feign a harmless friendship, or express romantic interest, or even express intentions to marry you. They usually try to take advantage of your emotional weakness and try to persuade you to send money for anything like, Visa, medical expenses, etc. They also conjure stories to make you give them a helping hand. Sometimes the potential victim is approached by means of showing authority. The next time you encounter a doctor, or a police officer or a lawyer on the internet who shows interest to be acquainted with you, it is most likely to end-up in an attempt to scam you. The amount of money lost in such scams may range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars in the United States.
There are a lot of techniques and strategies employed when it comes to internet dating scams. However, cruel it may sound, scammers usually target people who are likely to be under a lot of emotional stress – people with disabilities, widows/widowers, etc. These charlatans certainly follow certain patterns and if you can identify these patterns and signals, you will do yourself a favor by not falling for internet dating scams.
Does it mean one shouldn’t use dating websites? No! You can of course take advantage of dating people through the internet from the comfort of your home. However, you need to be alert and resilient to these kinds of scams. Consider the following red flags in case someone tries to take advantage of you.
Email obsession and discrepancies
Your online ‘date,’ you have been dating for the past couple of weeks is more interested in communicating with you through e-mail or IM (instant messaging) even when there is a messaging system in place on the dating website.
There are a lot of e-mail discrepancies that one needs to look for if your date seems suspicious.
You might get instant responses to your email. If you send them an email, you might get a reply within 5 or 10 minutes. This suggests that they are probably using an automated email responder or simply shows desperation to talk with you.
Do you find the communication to be vague and hard to understand, then you are probably dealing with a scammer. Especially when someone claims to be actually from the United States, their English should be good or at least similar to that of a native speaker.
Do you get appropriate responses to your messages or do you get a feeling that the person at the other end seems like simply copying and pasting text and sending them across. Most of the time, the scammers will use templates which they can edit in a couple of seconds and send them across to you.
Love at first sight
Love at first sight might be true for people who actually meet someone in real life. But if your date proposes love to you instantly, he/she is probably a scammer. You might sometimes get an email with a picture of someone saying that they found your profile on a dating website and they instantly fell head over heels for you. You know for a fact that, the odds of people going crazy about you after taking a good look at your profile picture is very low. So if someone shows great interest towards you after only a few email conversations, you are likely conversing with a con man.
Asks for money (the moment of truth)
Your date might start asking you for money for a number of reasons like, financial issues and setbacks, medical emergencies, crime victimization, VISA fee, other official documents, hotel bills, hospital bills for their child, and travel expenses. These are strong signs that you are dealing with a scammer. If you are dealing with a dating scammer, he or she will ultimately end up asking you for money, this is the moment of truth. The amount of time the scammer waits before he goes for a kill varies, however, if your date asks for money, don’t respond and report the profile as scam in the dating website.
Looks like a celebrity
This might sound a bit cliché but your date might send a photograph of him/her that looks like it is from a magazine. You know for a fact that it’s really hard to find attractive looking individuals who are interested in you. Anyhow, a fantastically attractive photograph should definitely buzz an alarm in your mind. Many a time pictures of local models and photographs of attractive individuals found on the internet are used to lure in the fish. People who look attractive will also look for love on the internet. However, the next time you get a message from an attractive individual from a dating website, think twice.
The scammer could also claim that he/she is from the same country you belong to and is working or traveling overseas. They might tell you that they were planning to visit you soon, but were not able to because of an unfortunate/tragic event.
How to protect yourself from such online dating scammers?
One should never send money to someone whom they have never met in person, unless they have verified their identity. Also, never share your bank account or credit card details with people you met on the internet
The best to way to avoid such scammer and criminals is to sign-up only in online dating websites which are well-known and reputed.
Never disclose sensitive personal information over a casual online chat session of email conversations. It is also advised not to share this kind of information even on social networking websites like Facebook.
For instance, if you are someone with any kind of physical disability, or if you are someone who has lost a loved one, or if you are a widow, it is a good idea not to share this information on your dating website profile openly.
If you happen to live in the U.S., and the person to whom you intend to send the money also claims to be an U.S. citizen, you can send the money by means of an OCS Trust. Avoid sending the money through services like Western Union, PayPal or MoneyGram. If you send the money through OCS Trust, the money will be routed through the Dept. of State and will be deposited with the nearest U.S. consulate/embassy to be picked up by the person to whom you are sending the money.
Additionally one can contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services (1-888-407-4747) to verify the person’s identity before dispatching the amount.
A great number of individuals who have tried online dating websites have come across signs of internet dating scams: they will be asked for money in form of a direct deposit, or check or some might even ask your credit card details. There are different versions of stories, but the intention of these scammers remains the same. Their ultimate goal is to rob your hard-earned money. So, stay clear of these scammers and the scam sites. If you read letsbang dating site review here, you can find out that letsbang.com is a scam (According to many reviews conducted). You can spot and stay clear of these type of scam sites by reading the reviews.
If you think you have become a victim of an Internet dating scam, please get in contact with the Internet Crime Complaint Center or if you happen to live in a country other than the United States, get in touch with the respective crime complaint cell and provide them with all the details.