How to avoid dating scams

If you are asked to send money and feel so inclined, run the whole scenario by someone you trust. Choose a friend or someone from your church or community who is less emotionally invested than you are. Be open to their perspective. If the request for funds is indeed a scam, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to ever recover the money. Please call Member Services at Welcome to Consumer Reports.

You now have access to benefits that can help you choose right, be safe and stay informed. In our online dating survey, 12 percent of people say they were conned. Sharing is Nice Yes, send me a copy of this email. Send We respect your privacy. Oops, we messed up. Their worry is not overstated. Romance scams really can happen to anyone. Have you been hurt by a romance scam? Tell us in the comments below. To recognize and avoid romance scams, follow these tips.

Consumer Reports is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to helping consumers. We make it easy to buy the right product from a variety of retailers. Our service is unbiased: All prices are subject to change. Some scam artists are in it for the long con. So, he or she may not proclaim love for you immediately, knowing it's a red flag. Protect your personal information until you actually meet this person.

Common warning signs to look for

Scammers have been known to carry on an online relationship for a long time to gain trust, and eventually get what they want. Don't reveal your personal information readily, or it could be used against you. How can other forms of communication phone, Skype help you weed out scammers?

If you're interested in someone who lives overseas, their phone number is going to be different than what you're used to. However, you can look up the phone number online to see if others have reported it as belonging to a scam artist — just know this won't always give you results. Some scam artists have been known to use footage of cam models. Be on the lookout for sudden connection issues, no microphone, or no actual communication. Your level of comfort when speaking to someone by phone or video chat should be trusted. If you feel something is off, it probably is. To create this article, 29 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.

This article has also been viewed , times. Featured Articles Avoiding Dating Scams. Menghindari Penipuan di Aplikasi Kencan Daring. When you start talking to someone on the internet, pay particular attention to the messages that they are sending. Are the messages answering the questions that you are asking or are they just generic messages that could be sent to anyone with just one minor change for each — the name?

Prolific romance scam artists will generally use the same messages for everyone that they are trying to lure in as victims so if the messages are too general for your liking, back away as fast as you can. They are so generic that you can often find much of what they write by searching on Google. Even on profiles, the text can be copied and pasted from that found on other dating sites. Consider the language the person is using. Poor English can be a red flag signal for you to at least be more circumspect until you know more about this person.

Many of the scam artists come from countries where English isn't the first language and their command of it in writing is poor; bad grammar and spelling can be an indicator that the person may not be genuine. For example, would an American man write about having a great sense of 'humour' with an extra 'u'?

The common scam pattern

Would a British woman call her mother 'my Mom' instead of 'my Mum'? Or describe themselves as 'God fearing? Of course, this "sign" is contextual, as many people can't be bothered spelling properly and if you fall in love with someone from China, your Chinese may be as iffy as their English. It's just one thing to be wary about.

If the scam is generic, even your name might get messed up in the general entrapment process. Look for the wrong name, misspellings of your name or other personal things that a person falling in love ought to get right, repetition and things that sound vague.


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Also be wary of anything that reads like a news or magazine story——it probably is. Take a look at the picture that the person is using on the profile. Does this person look too good to be true? Has the person given you a photo or is there one on the profile?

Online dating and romance scams: How to spot and avoid them

Even when the image has been cropped to hide a logo, or edited using Photoshop to change the face the original image still shows up. Photos of models, porn stars, soldiers and politicians are widely used, but even stolen photos of ordinary people also end up being used. Google search by image is highly effective for identifying photos used by scammers, especially when using the Chrome browser as you can just right click on the image and select 'Search Google for this image'.

See if the internet can verify that this person is real. Do an online search for the person. What returns do you get? Do the things you read match up with their claims? For example, does their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. If you are chatting with a John Smith or a Mary Brown, an online search will reveal many people. You may be able to confirm where they live by using an online telephone directory or electoral register depending on what country they say they are from. Be wary of people, especially men, who say they're US military officers, especially if they use pictures of people in uniform on their profiles.

Sometimes their photos are not of US officers at all - someone whose cap badge with a crown on it may be British, Australian or Canadian, but not American. And if they're outside the US, where are they serving? European countries like Switzerland and Ireland are neutral, so it's highly unlikely that serving US officers would be based there. Are they where they say they are? There are ways of being able to identify what country an email was sent from by tracing the IP address. For example, IP addresses beginning with '41' are in West Africa, a hotbed of scams.

However, this may not be available, and in any case, they may tell you up front they are in that part of the world. If they say they are in another country, treat with extreme caution anyone who is in West Africa. Scammers posing as men may say they are on business there, while those posing as women will say they are working in orphanages.

Scammers in Nigeria or Ghana have started operating from other countries in the region, such as Benin, Togo or Senegal although local people may also be involved and have even got as far as Malaysia, from where they can target Singapore and Australia. Learn about these countries and see how it matches what you're being told about them. There is no civil war in Zimbabwe. Nor is there a refugee camp in Dakar, Senegal full of attractive young black women who have escaped from civil war in Liberia or Zimbabwe, least of all the daughters of deceased politicians who have left them million-dollar legacies in bank accounts in Europe.

It's a variation on the scam. The woman in the photo doesn't know you, let alone love you enough to give you a share of an inheritance in return for you paying legal fees by Western Union. Forget about pursuing the relationship if you're asked for money. The standard reason someone asks for money online from someone they don't know is that they're out to scam you. This should immediately cause you to be concerned about the genuineness of the other person. Don't get too involved in asking why the person wants the money. It's bad enough that he or she has asked you without giving space for elaborate and ultimately false reasons for needing it.

The more elaborate the story, the faster you should run. A simple "no" should suffice; if it's meant to be, the budding relationship will survive your firm response! Watch out for emails or messages that sound desperate, pleading and persistent in response to your unwillingness to send money. This isn't love, it's money hunger. Just stay away if there are any signs of scams. Even if you manage to identify a scammer earlier rather than later, never confront them.

Even if you're baiting them for fun, however tempting it may be to expose them and ridicule them for being so unconvincing, all they will do is change their email account, their photos, and their profiles, and carry on as before, possibly with more success. Just cease communicating with them, block their emails, and don't take their phone calls, just as you would a threatening or abusive ex-partner.

Share what information you have on a scammer, including photos used, email addresses, aliases, telephone numbers and text used in correspondence on websites exposing scammers. You may find the text has been used before, with a few changes, while photos of that person you thought you met on the dating site may have 'scammer' or 'stolen' superimposed. Part 1 Quiz Which of the following indicates that a person isn't who he or she claims?

The person writes in broken English.

Avoid a Romance Scam When Using Dating Sites - Consumer Reports

He or she asks you for money. The person's profile photo shows a younger person than what he or she claims as their age. All of the above. Really listen to the questions they ask of you. What kind of questions are you being asked? This is a common mistake made by so many but in reality, what does it matter what kind of money you earn or the value of your house? Of course, many scam artists will not be so obvious, but it can happen and does on a regular basis so if the conversation starts to steer towards finances, it might be time to close the account!

Be wary if the person you've just cyber-met asks probing questions to do with your finances, your personal life and the people you know. Tell the person you're uncomfortable giving away any such information to something you've yet to meet. Scam artists commonly try to shift the relationship into intimacy really quickly, because they want things to get moving namely, your money and assets. Unfortunately, this can be complicated. There are also scam artists who are quite willing to put in a long time cultivating a fake relationship with you until they feel they've gained your trust.

Keep personal data to yourself. Until you meet this person for real, keep things superficial and pleasant. There is no need to passing on intimate details of your life and there is no way in the world this person you've yet to meet needs your social security or bank account numbers. Also, be aware that the more you reveal about yourself, the more leverage you give a scam artist to pinpoint a weak spot that they may try to manipulate you with.


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Be aware that some scam artists use the "intimate" information to get back at you.