How to spot an online dating scam

Posted at 5:24 PM, Jul 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-16 19:39:13-04

If you are looking for love online, watch out. If you are not careful, you could fall for a romance scam.

Here is how these scams occur: Online dating sites can be a great place to meet people. Quite often, we assume that the picture and profile we are looking at and the conversation is legitimate and honest. But, unfortunately, there are scammers who use these sites to trick people into sending a lot of money and releasing personal information.

Some telltale signs that you could be headed for danger include:

  • The scammer tries to make a quick love connection but has a number of excuses why they are delayed in meeting in person, such as they are out of the country, lack money to travel or they are dealing with a temporary illness.
  • The scammers need your help in getting money transferred to them, or they want your help in depositing money for them.
  • The scammer wants to communicate offline, via chat rooms, email phone or other ways to avoid being detected.

To avoid falling victim, check out things before things get out of control. Look for clues that the person may not be legitimate such as vague responses or inconsistencies in the story they are sharing. Be careful about how much personal information you share and avoid sending money or getting involved in financial transactions. If possible, talk things through with someone you already know and trust. Their insight can sometimes help you to recognize danger before you fall victim.

Although falling for this type of scam can be embarrassing or humiliating, speak up! File a complaint with law enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission and the website where the scam originated. It may be difficult or impossible to get your money back, but your information could stop the scammer from harming others.