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Looking for love online has never been more popular. But with the reaching a record high, it is important to make sure that you do not fall foul of dating scams.
Before you start searching for your soulmate, take a quick look through our 7 unforgivable sins of dating scams and make sure that you do not fall for a fraudster.
1. Your love interest says they are coming to see you – but they need you to lend them some money first.
With the average , it is vital to be on the lookout for any telltale signs that your love interest could in fact only want you for your cash.
Dating scams can be so successful because scammers have the opportunity to build up a relationship with you. They can then play on your emotions to make you do something you would not normally do.
There is usually a reason why the scammer is unable to meet you at first. For example, they may say that they are working or studying abroad.
Often, fraudsters will build up a relationship with their target over a period of a month or two before any request for help with money is made.
This means that when the scammer asks for money because, for example, they are having a family emergency or they need to borrow it to pay for a flight to come and see you, you will already be emotionally invested in the relationship and it will make it more difficult for you to say no.
that you should never send (or receive) money to someone that you have only met online.
2. Can we chat someone more private?
The invitation to chat somewhere other than the dating site/app that you met on, should act as a big red flag that the person you are talking to may not be all that they seem.
Dating scams usually involve moving your chats away from the dating site’s messaging system and onto email or social media.
Scammers do this so that there will not be any evidence that they have asked you for money.
3. I am falling in love with you…
There is nothing better than hearing those three little words. But if they come from someone you met online only a few days ago, then this should start to ring those little alarm bells in your head.
Yes, it could be true. But on the other hand, this person could just be after your money or may even want to steal your identity.
4. What a beautiful photo!
It is not all about looks. But someone’s online dating profile photo could give you some clues as to whether or not they are for real.
If their photo looks too good to be true, maybe they have used a photo of a model they have found online.
To check if their picture has been used elsewhere on the internet, you can do a on Google.
5. Blonde hair, blue eyes…wait, aren’t their eyes brown on that photo?
Check if their description matches their photo. If they describe themselves as having blue eyes when their eyes are very obviously brown, for example, this may be a warning sign.
Take a look at their whole profile. If they say that they are university educated and their use of English is poor, does this really stack up?
6. I would love to see you, but my camera is playing up.
If you arrange to speak to someone on Skype but their camera is never working, this could be a sign that everything is not as it seems.
7. Why don’t you send me some photos?
Never, ever send someone you have never met personal photos. These could be used to blackmail you.
If someone is persistently asking you for potentially compromising photos, be alert as to why they may want them.
Protect yourself from dating scams
Most people looking for love online are genuine people who want to find someone to have a relationship with.
However, those carrying out dating scams can seem very genuine, as they will want to build up a relationship with you so that when they ask for money or your personal details, you are already emotionally involved.
Be aware of the telltale signs that someone may be a fraudster. Do they always promise to meet you and then make excuses as to why they cannot come? Does something about their profile not stack up? It is better to be cautious, at least until you have met them in person.
Above all, never send money to someone you have only ever met online.