Scammers: 6 essential watch outs

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Every few months the unfortunate story of someone scammed through an online dating site surfaces in the papers. These stories vary but generally involve someone losing a lot of money they could ill afford.  You might think ‘I’d never fall for anything like that’, but a lot of these people thought just the same thing.

At eHarmony we have a lot of measures in place to prevent scammers joining the site, and a brilliant Risk Management team who are constantly checking for any profiles that might be suspicious. But, it pays for you to be alert to these scams too. Whether you’re on eHarmony on any other dating site, here are 6 essential rules to live by:

1.       Never, ever, EVER send money to someone you’ve not met

This might seem obvious, it might even seem stupid that we’re pointing this out, but in most cases the scam is based around the victim sending money, or providing their bank details to the scammer. No matter what their sob story is, it’s not your responsibility to bail out someone you barely know.

2.       Take extra care when talking to someone abroad

We are in no way saying that anyone abroad, who’s widened their search for love, is a scammer. But, scammers will often say they are abroad for two main reasons:

– Many scams are operated out of Nigeria, and sometimes other African countries such as the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Some scammers will be blatant about where they are located

– If a scammer says they are in the Army, on an oil rig, or a doctor/nurse working abroad, then this is a very convenient excuse as to why they can’t call you, are online at strange hours,  or disappear for weeks on end.

3.       If they seem too good to be true, they probably are

If the person you are talking to online looks like a supermodel, claims to be incredibly rich and successful and is very charming then it’s always worth remembering the old adage about things being ‘too good to be true’. Extremely attractive and successful people use online dating, sure, but do a sense check before you get too involved.

4.       Beware if they want to get you off the site immediately

If your match requests that you move to online chat or personal email straight away, beware. Scammers want to get you off the site before their accounts can be deleted. They also want as many personal details from you as possible. If you’re not sure about them, request to communicate through the site and tell them you’re not ready to give out your personal details yet. If they’re genuine they should be happy to do so. But ultimately, if alarm bells ring, stop all communication immediately.

5.       Beware if they tell you they love you straight away

Scammers often target people they think are more vulnerable, and then try very hard to get that person to fall for them virtually. This could include being overly intimate on email, adopting pet names for you straight away, and also telling you that they love you. If ANYONE tells you they love you in their first email through an online dating site – scammer or not – you probably need to be very careful.

6.       Don’t assume that you’re safe if you’re a man

The stereotype of the scam victim is the lonely, divorced woman who is willing to dip into her life savings for a stranger she’s fallen in love with online. The reality is that anyone can potentially be scammed, and there are plenty of female scammers out there, and scammers of all ages. Whoever you are, it pays to be careful.

Not sure about an eHarmony match? We want to know. Email our Risk Management team at matchconcerns@eharmony.com immediately. We’d rather look into too many profiles rather than too few.


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