While the British scammer mentioned in the introduction to this article met his victims in person, most scammers will avoid face-to-face meetings at all costs.
Even if they say they live near you, they’ll say they’re out of town and won’t be able to meet. However, repeated excuses at the last minute are a definite warning sign.
In August, a British man was sent to jail after defrauding two women of over £300,000 (5,300) through online dating sites.
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.
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.
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.
If you fall into this category, be especially wary of people that you meet through dating websites.
Online dating can be difficult for women The AARP also says that seniors are a common target of these scams.
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.
Scammers are good at being charming and saying all the right things—and they start it fast.