7 Tips to Avoid Online-Dating Scams

Posted By on June 1, 2015

As if finding Mr. Right at online dating sites weren’t daunting enough.

Now there’s another reason women should be wary: People using dating websites topped the FBI’s list of online fraud victims last year. Women over the age of 40 made up 70% of those cases.

As Internet-savvy as you think you are, it’s easy to be scammed by predators trying to make easy money. One common ploy is for schemers to surf dating sites and gather women’s personal information. Then they reach out to the women, with invented stories of family tragedies and hardships to get the victims to give them money, the FBI says.

These swindles cost victims about $82 million last year, or an average of about $14,000 per victim, according to the FBI’s annual fraud report.

These 7 FBI tips will put you on red alert for an online dating scam:

  1. Your online “date” pressures you to instant-message or email too soon, taking you away from the dating site. Create a unique email address, different from your personal one, when you set up your dating website profile.
  2. He professes instant feelings of love.
  3. He sends you a photo of himself that looks like it’s from a glamour magazine. Do a Google Goggles (Android) or Search by Photo (iPhone) search on your smartphone to see if his profile photo shows up elsewhere online.
  4. He claims to be from the U.S. and is traveling or working overseas.
  5. His online photo shows a wedding ring on his finger (oops!).
  6. He plans to meet you, but cancels because of a sudden “tragic event.”
  7. He asks you for money to help with a medical emergency, hotel bill, hospital bill for a child, visa or a financial loss.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of an Internet scheme, go to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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