The most common reasons that they give for needing money are not being able to afford a passport, visa, other travel documents, or plane tickets (often to come see you); an emergency stay in the hospital that requires a huge sum of money; getting robbed while traveling; or not being able to access their money from abroad.
There’s a huge variety of reasons that you could get.
Many scammers will be prepared to answer these and even more complicated questions, but if you can’t get answers from a suitor, you should be suspicious.
The profiles of online dating scammers can exhibit some clear signs that something is off—you just need to know what to look for.
Most scammers choose victims that are older than they are, for example, so if someone who is significantly younger than you says that they’re interested, it could be cause for concern.
In August, a British man was sent to jail after defrauding two women of over £300,000 (5,300) through online dating sites.
He had convinced them that he was a diplomat and that a US marine general had fallen in love with them, causing one woman to pawn jewelry, empty her life savings, sell her car, and take out loans to help this general move to the UK. In 2011, the Internet Crime Complaint Center estimated that the online dating scamming “industry” was worth over million, but it’s likely much higher than that, due to the difficulty of making a good estimate.
Again, both men and women can and have fallen victim to online dating scammers, but women tend to be targeted more aggressively.
Interestingly, the AARP says that men fall victim to these scams more often, but that women are more likely to report the scam.
Here are six things to keep in mind to help you spot and avoid scammers on online dating sites.
Anyone can be the target and victim of these scams—men, women, young, old, gay, straight, white, black, Asian, Hispanic… But the FBI states that women who are “over 40, divorced, widowed, and/or disabled” are prime targets for scammers.
People are often ashamed to come forward and admit that they’ve been duped.
It’s not a good feeling to have been taken advantage of, and a scheme that’s so obvious in hindsight is even harder to admit to. If you date online, take precautions to protect yourself.
If someone sends you a message and says they’d like to get to know you, save a copy of their picture and use Google’s reverse image search to see if anyone has posted about that photo being used for a scam.