Let’s be honest that everyone out there knows what a dating site or a dating app is. How can you not? The internet and television are plastered with advertisements from online dating services.
You’ve probably been tempted to use one, or you may have tried a few. If so, you’ve probably wondered if the person behind the profile was who they claimed to be. But, after all, you can’t really know who is behind the profile, or can you? Well, as you’ll see, there are plenty of steps that you can take to spot romance scams, that will protect yourself and maybe even your cold hard cash as well.
What is a Romance Scam?
A romance scam is where people make fake profiles on dating apps, the purpose of these profiles is to lure you in. But, of course, you have no idea who the person on the other end is, which means you could be talking to anyone.
The person pulling the romance scam has one goal: to build your trust. They want you to trust them so that they can pull off their devious deeds. So the entire process from start to finish is to get you to trust them so they can execute their plans.
How To Spot Romance Scams: 8 Warning Signs
So, how do you spot a romance scam? You may be surprised by how easy it is to spot a romance scam. You first need to detach yourself from the person you think you know and look for these sure signs that something might be fishy.
Too good to be true
Do you look at the person’s profile, and it seems too good to be true? Maybe the picture of the person is super hot, or they look incredibly wealthy. Do they have photos of themselves all over the world?
Ask yourself if what you’re reading or seeing makes any sense. Does the person make themselves sound like the best thing since sliced bread? Do they perfectly hit all the points you’re looking for in a date? Something is fishy if the profile is so good that it makes you wonder if the person is real or not.
Asking for money
Asking for money is a big red flag that someone is out to scam you. This is especially true if the person asks you for money immediately. It’s not unheard of for people to have financial problems, but you need to be aware that many people use dating sites to find someone to get money from.
You might think that you’re in the clear just because you’ve been talking to the person for weeks or months, but don’t let time fool you. Some people make their living scamming people on dating sites to milk them of their money. You have to remember that these people are talking to not only you but many more people, and it’s like they’re casting a net trying to pull in as many fish as possible.
Moving too quickly
Some people move faster than others, a user who frequently changes their location on a dating app is most likely a romance scam. When you suggest meeting in person, they may make excuses like they have already moved or are traveling to a different city. This is because many scammers use fake locations or VPNs when creating their profiles.
Refusal to video chat
Okay, so it’s understandable that some people might feel uneasy meeting strangers they don’t know. There’s no reason why they can’t video chat with you. Well, unless the person isn’t who they claim to be.
It’s also very suspicious if they don’t want to chat via Skype. You have to wonder what they’re hiding. Maybe they’re the opposite gender or from halfway around the world and don’t want you to hear their accent.
Poor grammar and spelling
We’re not saying the person you’re talking to must be a literary genius. However, what you’re trying to look for here is if the person sounds like a foreigner. Let’s say you find someone on a dating site that lives in the same city as you do, but their English is horrible. Something is up.
It’s not unheard of for people to move to different countries or end up as refugees, though you must be careful. Ask some questions only a local would know to see if they live where they claim. Romance scammers often lie about their location, and English is usually not their native language.
Militaries or single moms with a child
Romance scams often pose as military personnel because it gives them a reason why they can’t visit you. How can they go to the pub when they’re stationed halfway around the world fighting bad guys? Sure, military people do use dating sites, but be suspicious of anyone claiming they’re serving in distant lands.
Romance scams often play on a person’s heart, and they may tell you they don’t have the money to care for their child. Many people hate knowing that a child is doing without, and they will go to great lengths to help out a single mom. It might start with asking if you could help buy diapers and eventually asking you to help pay medical bills.
Requesting personal information
If the person is asking for any information that makes you feel uncomfortable, such as your date of birth, your home address, or where you work, you need to be concerned. Sure, it’s normal to want to know what someone does for a living. However, it’s not normal to want to know what bank you use. You know, if a person is asking a question that’s far too personal and it should send signals that something isn’t right.
If you come across a male user who claims to be a sugar daddy in his profile, it’s important to be extra careful. Sugar daddy scams prey on the desires of young women to live a luxurious lifestyle or get financial support, and can easily gain their trust. They may offer you gifts or cash in the short term, but later on, they will come up with excuses and tell you that they are having business problems, and ask for some money back.
What to Do If You’re Not Sure
So, you’re not sure if you’ve been the victim of a romance scam or not? Don’t fret; it’s not like you’re completely hopeless. There’s plenty of stuff you can do to ensure you don’t get robbed blind. The main thing to remember is to keep your cool and never allow your emotions, anger in particular, to hamper your decision-making skills.
Google image search is your friend in situations like this. Go to https://images.google.com/, and you can upload any pictures the person has given you. Google will search the internet to see if it can find the images anywhere.
This is so useful because Google can tell if the image is from a site. Let’s say you’re talking to who you think is a woman in your area, and you find out that the picture is really from a stock photo site. You can rest assured that the person you’re talking to is fake because they’re using images they found online.
Asking support for help
If you’re unsure if the person you’re talking to is real or not, you can always fire off a message to customer support. Ask them to look into the person and see if they can pick up any red flags. If you’re using a reputable dating app, they’ll happily do this for you. That’s why it’s crucial that you join a site that you can trust so you know they have your back during times like this.
What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed
Okay, now you know without a shadow of a doubt that you’ve been scammed. You are scrambling to protect yourself, and luckily there’s plenty that you can do. However, all hope isn’t lost and there’s still time to make sure that this situation doesn’t take an even bigger turn for the worse.
Contact your bank immediately
Don’t waste any time when it comes to calling your bank. This is especially true if you sent them money or gave them way more information than you should have. You don’t need to panic, but you do need to be proactive.
Tell your bank exactly what’s going on. Hopefully, you didn’t give them a bank card or a credit card. If you did, you’ll want the bank to immediately put a freeze on it. If you go that route, you’ll ensure no money can be spent.
Call the police
In extreme cases, you may need to call the police. If you didn’t send the person any money or large amounts of money, calling the police might be overkill. However, if you allowed the person to stay with you or allowed them to borrow your car, it’s a good idea to get law enforcement involved.
You don’t want to call the police if your feelings are hurt or they scammed you out of a little cash. Calling the police is a big step, and it’s something that only should be reserved for those times when you’re really in a pickle.
Getting support from Victimsupport.org.uk
Victim support is a service that you can turn to in times like this. They can help guide you on what to do and offer you emotional support. Victim Support will have all the resources you need to ensure you can get this behind you.
Take advantage of everything they offer, and don’t be shy. You aren’t the first person they’ve encountered who went through a romance scam. Nothing you say will surprise them, and you can rest assured that they’re highly professional.
Report the scam to the dating site
The last thing that you should do is report the scam. Make sure that you present them with all the evidence that you found. Show them the websites you found the person’s pictures on or any other information you gathered to prove that the person is a scam.
The more evidence you can provide the dating site, the more likely they will kick the person off and protect others. What you’re trying to do here is protect other people from getting scammed, and that’s why you want to report the person. Yes, they might find a way to get back on the site, but at the very least, you can protect other people who may be already in contact with the person.
Sadly, romance scams are a part of the world of online dating. There’s no way any dating site or app can squash them entirely. You can protect yourself and educate yourself on how to find out if the person is who they claim to be. But, even if they are the person they claim to be, that doesn’t fully protect you.
The best advice is to date people local to your area with whom you can easily meet. Don’t rush into anything; do your best to cast the widest net possible. Play the field, go on as many dates as possible, and take advantage of online audio and video chats to get a feel for the person before attempting to meet them.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?