Dating sites, chat-rooms and web-scams

One of the shackles that the online dating industry has worked so hard to free itself of, like the proverbial bad penny, just will not go away. It was recently reported that in one year alone US citizens lost more than half a billion dollars to scams on the internet, a percentage of which was accredited to credit card and bank account information being entered into rogue singles websites.

It is hardly surprising – many outfits behind these scams are extremely proficient at what they do and, if unchecked, they can replicate a internet-based dating site to such an extent a casual user may hardly notice an appreciable difference.

There are signs that should start ringing alarm bells, which you can learn to look out for if ever your suspicions are aroused by a dubious-looking dating website.

First and foremost, you need to re-think how you arived at the site. It is doubtful (although not impossible) that such a site will have invested in the resource to obtain a high page-ranking, especially in a niche as competitive as online dating. You will more likely have clicked through a banner ad or from connected via a spam e-mail, to which you did not subscribe.

We shouldn’t, but we can often get distracted whilst browsing. If your suspicions are aroused once you land on a personals site, double-check the name in the browser-bar. If you are sent to a payment site to register your membership with a new dating service, ensure that the checkout name reads correctly, for example PayPal and not ‘PayPol’ – it is these subtle diferences that can unwittingly trip up an infrequent visitor to the genuine site.

If the website is kosher, all aspects of its diction will be grammatically correct. Many of the scam payment sites have origins in Africa or the Middle/Far East (although not by any means all of them); poor grammar, punctuation or inappropriate wording is a sure sign that you need to investigate the URL (website name) a little further.

You can check out the website in more detail in many ways.

Most serious dating sites only affiliate themselves with payment companies that offer secure checkout facilities, hence their URL will begin with https, not just http. You can also check this by setting your firewall more securely; if you access the site thus, you will be warned about insecure certificates or if the site has been reported by other users.

There are many more tips issued by the fbi, regarding internet fraud, here. Be safe – do not contribute to these scammers who give the world of online dating such a bad name.

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