Before you even think about online dating, you must know about dating scams.
This is serious: if you get too deeply involved, a dating scam can significantly hurt not only your heart, but your finances, too.
Make sure you know how to protect yourself from fraud when using dating sites!
Internet personals, online introduction agencies and matchmaking sites allow anyone to join for free, and they usually do not screen their members. It means you never know who is behind this pretty photo: a real beautiful woman or a con artist who downloaded a photo of an unknown model from the Internet.
Let me tell you more about these scams.
1. Prostitute scam
Prostitutes are straightforward: they place profiles on dating sites to solicit business. Such profiles are usually easily recognized by sleazy user names and steamy self-descriptions. They don't waste time letting you know what they are after.
2. Phone scam
This is the variation of the old phone scam: the person asks you to call them, and when you do, you get a bill in the mail for hundreds of dollars (1900 number).
3. Travel scam
The person resides overseas and asks you to help them with travel expenses to visit you.
4. Nigerian postal scam
The person pretends to be a relative of a diseased government official who asks for your help in a financial transaction.
So, how can you protect yourself from being taken by Internet con artists using online personals to reach their victims?
Here is the simple guidance that will make your use of online dating sites safe and secure.
First, when you view a profile, look out for the things like a sleazy user name, especially if it's a woman: guys cannot stop thinking about sex 24/7 (and it's normal) - but women normally don't do it. Sincere women don't choose user names like "the_sweetest_sin", "ms_right_now" etc.
Second, read what the profile says: people milking others for money will say something vague that can fit anyone.
Third, look at the photos: gorgeous professional photos in combination with vague profile almost always mean trouble. People with beautiful photos receive LOTS of mail, so they become VERY selective and include many requirements in their profiles (especially women).
Basically, any woman who talks about loving sex and experimenting in bed is most likely not for real.
Any man who talks about being a millionaire isn't for real either.
It doesn't mean there are no women who love sex and experimenting in bed or millionaires on the site - they just DO NOT talk about that in their profiles.
And any person who does, is a liar.
Another HUGE warning is overseas profiles. Often people would list their location as being local and when you start talking to them, they reveal they are from overseas (Niger.ia, Russia, etc).
Such profiles should be treated as potential scams - always.
If the location in the personal profile doesn't match what the person says about him/herself, my advice is to drop it altogether and don't waste your time.
If you decide to proceed, do it for entertainment purposes only and don't get emotionally attached.
What will happen, sooner or later you will get a money request in some form - they need money for a sick relative, they want to visit you and need money for tickets, etc - whatever the reason, there WILL be a money request.
When this happens, you can play along and have some fun, asking for instructions and promising to send them money - just don't actually SEND it.
If you do, there are two variants: they will disappear or ask for MORE money (hey, if you were so stupid to send it once, why not try again!) - and keep asking for more money until you stop sending it.
Don't even HOPE this is for real.
Because it's NOT.
You may want to believe it is, but better believe ME: I am a real person and you can ring me and have a chat with me. With those people, you can't.
So, who would you choose to believe: me, who tells you this is a scam - or them, who ask you for money (which you can NEVER recover)?
I work in online dating since 1999 - I KNOW.
Trust me on that.
Long distance + request for money = SCAM.
Forget any sweet stories you've heard in between - and any sweet pictures, too. Most likely, the pics are downloaded from the Net and belong to some model. (Hey, there were even scammers using MY OWN pictures! ;-))
Guys are more vulnerable to this one than girls: I have never heard about a woman who wired thousands of $$$ to some guy to come and visit her - but the Internet is PLASTERED with stories of men sending money to their non-existing female admirers.
How wonderful... this perfect female specimen cannot wait to get hold of your zip and provide you with the greatest pleasure you ever experienced!! OF COURSE she sincerely loves you and is different from any woman you met before (and probably a couple of generations younger than you as well).
C'mon mate: those perfect Playboy-type exemplars dying to try your new sheets exist only in the virtual reality of your correspondence.
They are as real as Santa Claus or Nigerian millions. You know this one: you get a mail from a relative of a deceased top government official who begs your assistance in transferring large sums of money (stolen from the country's people obviously) - and easily promising to give you a few millions if you simply allow them to use your bank account. The people may list themselves as being from Nigeria, or any other African country.
This one is as clear as daylight, so if anyone starts talking about money transfers, honesty and trust, simply BLOCK them.
Remember the formula:
Long distance + request for money = SCAM.
I hope this article will help you protect yourself from dating scams and you will only meet honest, sincere and genuine singles from now on.