Online dating is an increasingly common way to meet people, but there are still risks. If you think that the person you’re chatting with might not be who they claim, trust your instincts!
Criminals who run romance scams can be very convincing. So-called catfishing is on the rise as scammers pretend to be lonely and looking for love. However, there are red flags to watch for as you chat with your new friend online. Don’t let a scam drag on, robbing you of your money, time, and self-respect.
Your new friend doesn’t need to be a novelist to have a conversation with you, but broken English and very poor grammar are red flags for online dating scams.
Low-level scammers will spam dating apps and even Facebook messages with ridiculous statements like, “Ur so sexxy, lets married!”
Absence might make the heart grow fonder, but when it comes to online dating, local is usually better. If you meet someone on the other side of the world, the logistics of meeting in person are difficult that you might not ever manage it.
Unfortunately, it’s also more likely that scammers overseas will target Americans. They have a built-in excuse to avoid visiting–but they’ll often ask for money to travel anyway.
Stock photos sites offer countless images of attractive people. Many of the models do a whole series of shots in different outfits and poses, making it possible to fake an entire camera roll of pictures. If the photos seem staged or too professional to you, it’s a good sign that the person is hiding something.
Before chatting with someone for any length of time, try using a reverse image search for their profile picture. You may find that the scammer stole it from someone else!
They like everything you like. They want to travel to the same places, watch the same movies, eat the same food. It’s got to be love, right? Either that, or they’re just parroting everything you say back to them.
Scammers need to work fast. The sooner they can get what they want from you, whether it’s personal information or cash, the happier they are. They use the same high-pressure tactics that you’ll find in other types of scams to rush you into making bad decisions. In this case, the scammer may pay you extravagant compliments or even confess to being in love way too soon.
Finally, the biggest red flag in online dating is if the other person won’t do any kind of video chat. With Zoom becoming such a big part of everyday life during the pandemic, most people are much more comfortable with video chat now. If someone refuses, they’re hiding something. It might be that they lied about their age, height, or weight and feel embarrassed. Or it could be that they’re actually a scammer in another country.
If you feel doubtful at all about the situation, put an end to the online relationship. You are much, much better safe than sorry.