Today the US FTC ( basically the same as our Office of Fair trading in the UK) have published a list of things to look out for when using online dating sites to avoid scam artists and other crooks who tend to use the internet to try to scam users, and we feel that the advice is sound but wanted to add a few other little gems based on the dodgy profiles that we have seen over the years.
Before we start we want to be clear in saying that the vast majority of online daters and profiles that you will see on dating sites ARE GENUINE, however like anything else on the internet, better to go in with both eyes open and knowing what to look out for from day 1.
Here are some warning signs that someone you met online could be in it for the money:
Wanting to move to using personal e-mail or IM accounts. ( as these do not leave a trail on the dating site)
Claiming instant feelings of love. ( Again- Apply a little real life common sense – would somEone you have known for 3 ours be in LOVE?)
Claiming to be from the United Kingdom but currently overseas.
Planning to visit, but being unable to do so because of a tragic event.
Asking for money to pay for travel, visas or other travel documents, medication, a child or other relative’s hospital bills, recovery from a temporary financial setback, or expenses while a big business deal comes through.
Making multiple requests for more money.
Our own hot list for your own online dating scam watchlist.
Having only 1 profile image
And more importantly not being able to produce another picture if requested by you. Most dating scam artist will pick a picture from Google or another search engine to use for their profile, and will not have a ready collection of other pictures of the same person.
Having only a partially completed profile:
Again a number of the profiles that we have suspected are false are very sparse in detail, or just simply generic looking in nature- this is due to the number of profiles each scam artist puts out there and their imagination running dry!
Having a Throwaway email address
ie. hotmail or gmail, most people in the UK now have at least one ” service related” email address weather that be with their Broadband provider or with their mobile phone so if the the person that you speaking to cant produce an alternative to one of the throwaway address’ ask why..
The FTC warns consumers that wiring money to someone they haven’t met is the same as sending cash. Once it’s gone, it can’t be recovered.