Okay, all of you single ladies out there—listen up! We live in a scary world…and if you’re looking for love online, it can be even scarier. As great as those couples in the Match.com commercials make online dating out to be, the marketers behind those ads forget to tell us about the side of online dating that isn’t so great…
Because the internet provides such anonymity, it also unfortunately provides a breeding ground for some serious creeps—many of whom use online dating sites to prey on innocent women looking for love. So that your online dating escapades aren’t marred by such an experience, be sure to learn how to spot romance scams, married men, and then arm yourself with tips for safe online dating:
Watch out for romance scams. More and more online singles are falling into the traps of romance scammers—don’t fall yourself! These scammers are infamous for tricking their victims into believing that there is a true romantic connection in order to fraudulently access their money, bank accounts, credit cards, and more. So that you aren’t left with a broken heart as well as broken bank, ask yourself the following questions to help determine if your new cyber romance is legit or not:
• Does the guy seem too good to be true?
• Does he have an online dating profile picture that looks like it fell out of the pages of a magazine?
• Is he working overseas? Possibly in Nigeria?
• Does he profess his love and undying devotion to you almost immediately?
• Is his spelling/grammar atrocious and not aligned with his alleged education or life status?
• Is there a dire situation related to family troubles, business affairs, medical problems, etc. for which he requests money from you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may just have a romance scammer on your hands. Cease all communications immediately, alert the dating site on which you met, and if you have already given money to this person, contact the police.
Watch out for married men. Sadly, the internet is full of men subscribed to online dating sites who just happen to have wedding bands around their left ring fingers. These men tend to seek out online women who are trusting, naïve and can be easily manipulated so that an affair can be carried through. To make sure that you don’t become the target of a lying, cheating, no-good man with a wife, keep an eye out for the following red flags:
• He has no profile picture. This is so his face isn’t out there heightening the chances of him getting caught.
• He asks for your number but won’t give you his. If the guy is married, he can’t have you calling in case his wife answers.
• He won’t share information with you such as his last name, where he works, where he lives, etc.
• He contacts on an irregular basis. This is because married men usually have schedules filled up with other things—like marriages!
• He won’t invite you over or introduce you to his friends and family. A married man obviously can’t have you blowing his cover—if you meet the people close to him, the jig is sure to be up.
Follow online dating safety tips. A great way to safeguard yourself from encountering con-artists like scammers and married men is of course to educate yourself about them. But for further protection and to ensure that you don’t ever find yourself in a dangerous situation on your quest for online love, check out the general online dating safety tips below:
• Never give out personal information. Until you are confident that the guy you are mingling with online is worthy of your trust, never disclose your last name, home address, place of business, phone number, financial info, or any other identifying details.
• Don’t rush into things. No matter how excited you may be to meet an online match in person, it is imperative to take things slowly. Reputable online dating services offer tools such as email, chat rooms and voice chat through their websites to allow singles to get to know each other before meeting—utilize these!
• Plan a safe first date. If your online relationship has reached the point of a face-to-face meeting, that is great—just as long as you hold safety as your number one priority. For the first couple of dates use your own transportation to meet your match in a public place, let a friend know where you’re going, be aware of your surroundings, forgo alcoholic drinks and listen to your intuition!
Guest post author, Ellie Stevens, shares with us her tips on how to avoid being conned when dating online. In addition, Ellie also owns Free Senior Dating Sites where she offers more safe online dating advice for single seniors.