How to Avoid Scammers on Dating Sites

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Online dating can be a great way to meet new friends. But there is a dark side of online dating. A big problem is online dating scammers on dating sites. Before you get too involved with online dating, be sure you know about the problems with dating site scammers and their horrible tricks.

So how do you avoid problems with scammers on dating sites? The best defence is information. Read this article and you'll have a better idea of what a scammer looks like.

First some misconceptions. Scammers operate on ALL dating sites. Scammers are on subscription sites. Scammers are on free sites. They target men. They target women.

Scammers particularly like dating sites where men and women are looking for foreign partners. Long distances mean that scams are much easier to pull off. Furthermore there's much less risk of being brought to justice.

Dating site scams are not usually very sophisticated. But lonely people looking for love make excellent targets for scams.

Sad Stories

Don't fall in love with beautiful photos on dating sites - they could have been posted by a dating site scammer!

One thing that's common with online dating scammers is that they'll attempt to hug at your heart strings. Sad stories are common. Only the most brazen scammers will attempt to ask for money. Most of the scammers will just tell you a sad story, and hope you offer to send them money. Sad stories can vary. However, most scammers copy other scammers, so once you've heard a few sad stories, you've heard them all. Common ones are sick relatives, sick pets, sad stories involving children, or the family's oxen being taken ill (this is most common in countries such as Thailand or the Philippines!)

Be aware that the sad story is the thin end of the wedge. Once you've been suckered in and sent a small amount of money, the scammer has you in their powers. You'll invariably go on to send larger and larger sums of money until a significant wedge of your life savings have disappeared. Often love makes us blind to this. We suspect we're being suckered in, but then again how can we? The person we're chatting to loves us!

Scamming Aid Workers

Talking of sad stories, one common story told is that the person you're talking to on a dating site is an aid worker. Many scammers on dating sites live in the Middle East and West Africa. What better way to explain their presence in these countries by pretending to be an aid worker? Typically they'll tell you they're working for the Red Cross, or a children's charity.

So you're best to avoid anyone on a dating site who claims to be an aid worker, especially if they're working in Africa or the Middle East. West African countries such as Nigeria or Ghana are hotbeds of scammers, so avoid any aid workers in these countries. Middle Eastern territories such as Gaza or Syria are also popular with scammers as they can invent plenty of sad stories about wars or traumatic lives.

Taking it one stage further, it's always essential to be suspicious of ANYONE on a dating site who claims to be working overseas. It's often just a cover to explain why they're in a developing country.

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Other Scams

One type of dating site to be wary of is the letter writing site. These are quite common in foreign dating, especially if the members you're interested in don't speak or write much English. There are a number of Asian dating sites that operate on this basis. There are also a number of Russian mail order bride letter writing sites. Be aware that these sites charge at least $5 to send and receive a letter from a member of the site (usually a beautiful lady). While these sites make it easy to communicate with someone who doesn't speak your language, they are wide open to abuse. Fake profiles can be made up, and standard letters sent out. How do you actually know you're chatting to a real person? So be careful when using letter writing sites.

Something I've also experienced is somebody who shows an interest in your profile, and wants to chat with you on another dating site. What's going on here? This is a trick designed to make you pay for a more expensive dating site. Often they have pay per minute webcam chat facilities, or you have to pay for a translation service. Another possibility is that the person is a scammer and they want to chat to you on another site, thereby avoiding the monitoring capabilities of the original site.

Spotting Scammers on Dating Sites

As far as spotting online dating scammers goes, common sense is the key thing here. In my experience, scammers are more likely to:

  • Not upload a photo of themselves.
  • Be a newly registered member of a site.
  • Have not paid for full membership (but if they do then they often use a stolen credit card - they will get found out, but not for a month or two).
  • Contact you first.
  • Be young and or good looking.
  • Profess their love for you in the first couple of emails they send you.
  • State in their profile that they're looking for a man or woman of any age.
  • Live in a different country to you.
  • Send you their email address in their first email to you.
  • Tell you sad stories about how their life sucks.
  • Appear to be "out of your league".

But you're going to have to use your gut instinct here, as not all of these are definite signs of a dating site scammer.

So if you're considering online dating, then always be on the lookout for scammers on dating sites. Think with your head, don't fall in love with someone you've never met in person and for goodness sake keep your wallet closed!

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