Although fun and exciting, dating itself can also be complicated and at times exhausting. Now throw online dating into the mix and it’s a whole new ball game. Like anything, there are pros and cons so it’s important to be well-informed when navigating the online dating world. I now present you with some of the most common online dating scams. My intention is not to scare you, but rather to help you avoid a potentially unpleasant situation.
Online Dating Scams: Money
This scam involves pursuing someone through a dating site with the goal of obtain money or material items from them. This scammer can be blatantly obvious. Think: “I like your profile. I am looking for like-minded individuals and think you may be interested in a business idea..” Or not so obvious. These are the ones to look out for. You meet someone online who seems great. When it’s time to pay for dinner, they accidentally have forgotten their wallet. In the spirit of giving your date the benefit of the doubt, this may very well be an honest mistake. Fast forward to your second date. It’s time to pay for tickets to the museum. Your date says something like, “You get them this time and I’ll get the next ones?” At first you might be flattered by this statement. Your date is implying that there will be another date and you like them. But something here just doesn’t seem to add up. That is now two dates in a row in which you are paying? I am all for splitting the bill down the middle, but this is something altogether different. If you find yourself in a case like this, try playfully reminding them that they owe you. If your date still appears to be weaseling out of paying, something is definitely fishy. Keep an eye out for red flags or people who seem to just be ‘dating for dinners’. It isn’t worth your time, or in this case, your money.
Online Dating Scams: Misrepresentation
One of the biggest fears people have about online dating is that they don’t know who they’re really talking to. “What if I meet some crazy person?” Although online dating has become one of the most common ways to meet someone, this fear is certainly still valid. The key here is to keep an eye out for clues that someone may not be who they claim. What does their photo look like? Does it show them clearly? Do they only have photos of groups of people making it impossible for you to know which one they are? Do they even have a photo? No photo is absolutely a red flag and for me, a deal breaker. A person should have multiple, current photos on their profile that accurately represent who they are. Now review the rest of the profile. Have they taken the time to fill out the sections completely and thoughtfully? Have they only used vague, general language? This lack of sharing details could be cues that they don’t want you to know who they really are. Now take a look at the messages you’ve exchanged or even their introductory message to you. Did they note something specific in your profile that made them want to message you? Did they mention a mutual interest of yours to get the conversation started? Or did they just send you a general, “Hey, I like your profile.” or “It seems like we have a lot in common, let’s go out sometime?” With messages like these, you probably don’t want to date them even if they aren’t trying to misrepresent themselves.
Online Dating Scams: Identity Theft
Although this may seem like common sense, it is worth mentioning. Identify theft is everywhere. Especially at a time when we’ve become so used to voluntarily handing over personal information through mobile banking apps, etc. Always be weary of anyone trying to solicit personal information online. In addition to this being a safety issue, never give out details such as your address or social security number. This also includes things like always bringing your purse or wallet with you to the bathroom. Yes, these are common security measures. However, you may become comfortable with your date and forget that you really don’t know them that well. The big takeaway here is simply to exercise caution and use your common sense.