We’ve all heard the horror stories about men and women around the world getting scammed by professional online dating scam artists – many who live overseas and use fake photos and back stories to con singles into sending them thousands of dollars. However, it was easy to assume that those profiles were few and far between, and that those getting scammed were just sad, gullible, and misinformed folk who fell into a very rare trap.
According to a new study, though, that may not be the case. In a recent report by Glamour magazine, Match CEO Mark Brooks claims that as many as 1 in 10 dating profiles are scammers, and that no matter how hard dating site personnel work to keep the scammers away, it is nearly impossible to be 100% free of fake profiles.
So, what is a person to do? Stop online dating all together? Of course not – you just need to be smart. Cupid.com’s Sean Wood offered these great tips to ensure you don’t get scammed on dating sites:
- Military pictures should turn on your scam radar warning. Some of the biggest scams occur from supposed soldiers in the armed services with a believable sob story and a desperate need to settle down.
- Try and keep the conversation going on the dating site messaging system rather than being dragged off to Skype or MSN, at least initially.
- Employ some basic conversational tests: If the person claims to be local, engage in a local-knowledge conversation (e.g. the weather, some nearby event, sports team, TV, or festival) and watch for mistakes. If the person is not claiming to be local, consider why he or she would want a long-distance relationship. Is there good reason, such as some particularly unusual common ground? If not, why aren’t they restricting themselves to people a bit nearer to their current location?
- Look out for words like “dear” and old-fashioned romantic language, as well as badly formed sentences.
- Never, ever send money to anyone on a dating site, and especially avoid wiring cash.
- Always be on the lookout for get-rich-quick schemes. If it sounds too good to be true, then it’s probably a scam.
Remember – there are dangers everywhere. Avoiding any situation that could possibly end badly would turn you into a sad, lonely, bored hermit. So stay positive, and be smart about your online dating adventures.
We want to hear from you! Have you ever been scammed on an online dating site? What happened? Do you have any more tips for the inexperienced? Let us know in the comments!
Story via VentureBeat