May Is Scammer Awareness Month. Can You Spot a Dating Scam?
May is Scam Awareness Month, a time for Internet users to remind themselves of common scams and take time to ensure they are doing everything possible to avoid falling victim to an online scheme. Those who use services like OKCupid or Match.com must be extra vigilant, as scams are one of the dangers of online dating. Let's take some time to review two of the most common scams:
Love Calling From Overseas
Here's a general rule of thumb for online daters: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This is definitely the case with overseas scams, which are likely the most common in terms of web-based romance. Here's the scenario - you receive a message from a hunky, wealthy, successful and smart man, and he's totally into you. The only problem? He's stuck overseas. Maybe he had to travel there for a funeral, or perhaps he was in the military and has only recently been relieved of duty. Whatever the scenario, you can bet at some point that he'll magically find a way home, if only you can lend him the money for a plane ticket. This brings us to our second rule of thumb: Don't ever lend money to someone you haven't met, no matter how sincere and handsome he may be. Odds are, once you wire him the dough, you'll never hear from him again.
Give Me All Your Details
There are many pros and cons of online dating, but one of the most difficult aspects to manage is the real-life meet-up. It's recommended that once you've met a suitor who seems like a potential match, you agree to set up a real date as soon as possible to ensure that the connection exists without the Web serving as a conduit. But how do you go about safely meeting someone you don't know? The best bet is to meet in a public place at an agreed time. However, you may find that some guys hassle you to give you your personal information, such as your phone number or social networking info, in order to set up a time to meet. This may seem like an innocuous request, but it's never a good idea to give away your personal information to someone with whom you aren't familiar. You never know what a man will be like once you see him in the flesh, and if he turns out to be a creep or a stalker, you'll be kicking yourself for giving him your digits. There's an easy way around this issue, however - you can simply give him a disposable phone number that you can easily get rid of and replace if he turns out to be shady.
If you have been in the dating scene for a while, it's likely you've already encountered one or both of these scams. There are resources you can use to help reduce the number of fraudsters using online dating. The Internet Crime Complaint Center, which works in conjunction with the FBI, is one place where you can report online dating scams.
Keep an eye out for these scams every time you log in to your online dating site of choice, and you'll be safe and secure as you search for romance.