5 Things You Should Know About Online Dating Scams

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Online dating can be a great way to meet your dream partner. An increasing number of people are trying online dating for themselves. Sadly though, many people's search for love often ends in financial disaster, or sometimes even worse - people have even committed suicide after losing their life savings to dating scammers. Don't let something ruin your online dating experience. Make sure you're aware of these ways in which the scams operate.

Money Scams

First of all, most online dating scams involve money. Come to think of it, all types of online scams usually involve money. Online scams are big business. In the UK alone the government's serious organised crime agency estimates that advanced fee fraud (i.e. sending money for services which never arrive) costs the country £340 million pounds a year. Dating scams are a small part of this, but they're growing rapidy.

So there's only one rule to follow here. If someone starts talking about needing money, break off contact with them immediately.

Does He or She Exist?

If you're involved with someone online, then ask yourself this - do they really exist?

Yes, this seemingly is a stupid thing to ask, but unless you have seen someone on webcam or in person, then they may not be real. If you're communicating with email or the telephone alone, then be wary. Even if they send you photos, still don't let your guard down. Photos are very easy to steal from Facebook or Flickr. These sites are great for scammers because you can steal entire photo albums of someone posing with their friends and family. Consequently setting up a genuine looking dating site profile is all too easy for the scammers.

You would think people would know this, but love makes us let our guard down. The Sunday Times reported the sad case of a British woman who met her dream American man online. She spent £70,000 on helping him with various difficulties he encountered. In the end she was visited by the police who told her that she had been the victim of a fraud, and that the man she was communicating with didn't even exist.

One great way of proving someone exists is to mail them a small gift. Then ask the person to send you a photo of them with the gift. Also you should always make sure you see them on webcam once or twice. If they make excuses about not having access to a webcam then seriously consider finding somebody else to chat to.

Africa

Many online dating scams operate out of West Africa, with Nigeria being the centre of operations. If you're looking for an African husband or wife, then it's essential to use a reputable dating site like Afrointroduction.

If you're not looking for an African partner, then do not have anything to do with anyone who lives in or claims they're working in Africa. Do not send money to Africa for any reason whatsoever. Yes it's sad to write off a whole continent, but unless you actually live in Africa or have contacts there you can trust, then you're running an enormous risk with your savings and even your life.

Obviously only the dumbest scammers will actually admit to being based in Africa. Usually they will set up profiles on a wide range of dating sites, and they will claim to be Thais, Filipinas, Russians and even Americans.

Western Union Scams

Western Union is a legitimate company used to send money to countries where it's difficult to get access to bank accounts. If you're looking for a partner in a developing country then it's quite likely that you might be asked to send them money via Western Union.

Although Western Union claims to have good anti-fraud measures, the fact is that Western Union is only designed for people to send money to people they trust. Never use Western Union to send money to someone you haven't met.

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Communicating Away from the Dating Site

Subscription dating sites like Chinese Cupid can afford the sophisticated IT monitoring tools required to keep the dating site monitored for suspicious activity. They can also afford to employ human moderators to investigate reports of scammers.

A lot of dating scammers will try and lure you away from these sites so that they can do their frauds unwatched by the experts. So if someone you're communicating with suggests a better dating site, then be suspicious.

Hopefully these tips will help you to avoid some of the common dating site scams out there. When it comes to online dating, it always pays to be suspicious, particularly when your money is involved.

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