Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places: Dating Scams
Posted by Pamela S. on Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
If there is any area in our lives where we let down our guard, it is when we are trying to find love. The most savvy CEO or brilliant lawyer can forget everything they know when it comes to infatuation. Meeting someone online used to be one of those things people kept hidden. Is the Internet the wrong place to meet your future partner? Not if you are careful. Many people choose this option. Busy people don’t always have the time or opportunity to meet people and connect. Connecting online is easy, but is it safe? I have provided some tips.
After you have waded through the mass of humanity that appears to be completely illiterate, you may find a prize. I’m sorry if this sounds mean, but I have had a little turn at online dating and I was appalled by the men who couldn’t spell a simple word, like please. That was when they weren’t using four letter words to describe the one and only thing that they were interested in. By the way, these were not new immigrants with a language barrier. They were born here and supposedly educated here.
So let’s say you get past those people and find an intelligent person, someone you find attractive and interesting. What now? It’s not all roses and chocolates in the online dating world. You have a long way to go before you are cutting that wedding cake.
The FBI takes your dating safety seriously. They provide some excellent tips on their website. Listen to the podcast Online Dating Dangers or read their article “Looking for Love? Beware of Online Dating Scams.”
As the FBI and other sites point out, many online daters only want to take advantage of vulnerable people. According to the FBI, many online daters become victims of financial fraud, and “the average financial loss per victim is between $15,000 to $20,000.”
Don’t learn love lessons the hard way. Here are some tips:
- Profile photographs mean nothing. You like the look of this person? That may not be your soul mate in the photo, or as many of us have found out, the photograph could have been taken many years ago. Ask for other photographs.
- Never send money to anyone you meet online. I don’t care what their sob story is or how long you have been communicating online. If you have never met and don’t have a personal relationship, you don’t know this person.
- Keep your anonymity until you feel you can trust this person. Use a GMail or other anonymous email account. Never give your home address or phone number to someone online.
- If you are going to meet, make it a highly public place, such as a busy restaurant in the heart of the city. Tell someone where you are going. If you are a woman, don’t let a man walk you to your car or offer to take you home. Take a cab to be even safer.
- Trust your gut. Someone who claims to “be in love” with you, when you have never met, is lying. I’m sorry, but you can’t build a real relationship in cyberspace. I’m not saying that you can’t start a relationship, as many people have done so and gone on to connect in life, but you have to be realistic.
International Background Checks & Private Investigators Blog, in London, England provided this infographic and valuable tips on their website. Dating scams are an international problem.
There are a variety of dating sites out there. The paid subscription sites are usually a better choice, but none of the dating sites check out their subscribers in any real fashion. Some sites claim to conduct background checks on their clients, but you get what you pay for.
If you meet someone online and are seriously considering a real relationship but have questions, hire a private investigator to check this person out. I know that sounds drastic, but if the person isn’t being entirely transparent with you, they might be married, a con artist or worse. A trusted friend or a professional can see the red flags when you are blinded by love.
Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Sheer has recruited the best from the FBI, DEA, IRS and Secret Service to build a formidable team at Sheer Investigations. Our private investigators have the sensitivity and experience to handle the most delicate investigations.