Five ways to spot a scammer
It’s an unfortunate fact that some people use online dating sites to scam money. They think that the fastest way to your wallet is through your heart. Thankfully, there are warning signals to help you avoid becoming their prey:
1. They are too attractive
If your match looks like a model, think twice. While you shouldn’t write someone off for being too good-looking, perfect looks and professionally taken photos should raise your suspicion as scammers often use pictures of models from stock photography sites to attract their victims on online dating sites.
Look for inconsistencies between descriptions in someone’s profile and their picture. For example, if they claim they don’t care about physical beauty yet their photo looks like a Hollywood headshot, something’s probably amiss. And if you’re lucky enough to be one of those genuine, honest, beautiful people, be sure to include several pictures of yourself that show you relaxing at home or with friends.
2. They want to move too quickly
If you meet someone on an online dating site and they ask for your phone number almost immediately and very insistently, proceed with caution. Virtual relationships should follow a natural progression from emails to phone calls to eventually meeting in person. If they want to jump to the last stage too quickly, something could be wrong.
3. They are too perfect
Con artists are skilled at creating attractive personas on online dating sites. Beware of these classics:
• The down-to-earth single father who has fallen madly in love
• The beautiful young foreigner who needs help
Personas like these work well because the perpetrators are adept at creating believable situations that lower your guard. They work hard to earn your trust before asking you for money. If you meet someone on an online dating site that seems too good to be true or claims to fall in love with you unnaturally fast, be wary. They may be genuine but move forward with caution and look for suspicious behaviour.
4. They ask for money
A person you meet on an online dating site that asks you for money is pretty likely to be a scammer. However persuasive their story is – they might claim they have an “emergency” or that they need a “loan” – we strongly advise you NEVER to send money to someone you meet online.
If you’ve established a relationship in person for a significant length of time, you can assess for yourself whether giving them money is wise, but until then, don’t do it.
If the person asking for money is from a foreign country you can be certain they are a scammer. Nigeria might be the most famous origin of email scams but they can come from anywhere around the globe.
5. They ask for private information
If anyone asks for details like bank accounts, drivers’ licenses or anything security protected DON’T give it to them. Be aware that obvious con men get caught out fast – it’s the masters of subtlety that succeed. Questions that appear harmless like ‘Who do you bank with?’ can start the ball rolling.
If you’re convinced you’ve identified a scammer, report them to the online dating site where you met. The site will check them out, remove them if they agree with you or even report them to the authorities.
If you are suspicious about one of your matches on eHarmony, please email us
Remember most of the people you meet on an online dating sate will be honest people. But know what to look out for and you’re less likely to become the scammer’s victim.
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