Steps to avoid being scammed dating online

Despite the spiralling popularity of dating sites members of the public have guarded reservations about using a platform that a whole generation is growing up taking for granted. As schools, community programs and day care centres develop blogs, websites and Twitter and Facebook accounts, the days when the world of online dating was recalled with a sliver of ice tingling the spine will be just that, a distant memory.

Yet, despite a worldwide effort to increase dating site security, we cannot ignore the fact that fraud and scammers perpetuate the myth that dating sites are unsafe places to frequent, let alone consider meeting someone with whom you’d consider sharing the rest of your life.

If you’re new to the world of online dating, you are probably more vulnerable than seasoned Internet love seekers. Scammers instantly target new sign ups and in their desperation to at least start the ball rolling, the new sign up replies to that initial prompt.

After a period whereby the scammer gains the trust of the ‘newbie’, there will inevitably come the promise of a visit ‘if only they had the funds‘ or ‘a relative has been taken sick and they’re waiting for the insurance to clear’ or ‘there’s a [magical investment], but they (the scammer) need funds to see the reward come to fruition‘. All plights seem like humanitarian gifts of kindness or opportunities too good to pass up on behalf of the innocent dating site member. But if you loan the money, that’s the last you’ll ever see of it.

One recent report suggests the following ways to ensure you stay safe if you’re considering dipping a toe into the world of online dating:

Do not be tempted to open up lines of communication outside the domain of the dating site. Most dating sites offer enough ways to communicate in the early stages of a relationship to enable the member to assess whether there’s a future in the relationship. Do not give out your phone number or e-mail address until you have met the person who’s contacted you.

This article continues with further ways to protect yourself dating online and a quick tale of an e-mail I had only this month as soon as I joined what appeared, on the face of it, to be a professional networking site for writers, publishers and editors.  And I mean, this e-mail was waiting in my inbox before I’d even sent the confirmation that the e-mail I’d supplied was legit.  Scary.

Continue reading: Don’t let your guard down online dating

Don’t let your guard down online dating

We pick up from whence we left off with “Steps to avoid being scammed dating online” with a few keen tips from one observer @ BBB, then I’ll relate to you exactly the type of communication you may get on your dating site when you first sign up.

Initially the messages will be from someone who seems kind, loving and genuinely wants to build up a long term relationship, but those promises of love ever after will soon turn to tales of woe or golden opportunities – all designed as levers to get you to send your money to them, which will go straight into the bank account of an organised gang of swindlers who prey on ‘green’ dating site members, usually in Nigeria or other parts of North Africa.

If you are determined to send someone money because you’re absolutely certain that their cry for help is genuine, insist on a face-to-face meeting directly. As with anyone you meet for the first few times on dating sites, always make that in a very public place, in broad daylight and somewhere you can get home easily without relying on them to ‘see you home’. If they’re who they say they are and their plight is real, they will turn up. If they use distance as an excuse, offer to buy their travel tickets for them and you can send them on. Never give them the money to make their own arrangements to come see you.

And if they still get around you that way (they are very plausible and persuasive and know exactly where your heart strings lie and can exert pressure that would have them high-ranking in The Spanish Inquisition) never choose a wire service to send the cash. Wire transfers are almost totally untraceable and offer you no cover whatsoever if (when) your mystery date doesn’t show. At least with a credit card, you have insurance up to a point, though whether being duped on a dating site is covered, I very much doubt. It is this simple: never give money to someone you’ve met on a dating site!

And this last one goes without saying for any walk of life, but you’d be surprised at what information people are persuaded to relinquish about themselves when their guard is down. Bank account numbers, passwords, national insurance numbers, addresses – keep them to yourself. You’ve heard the stories about identity theft, right?

Even if you think giving the password to your dating site is an innocuous act, trained hackers can access all sorts of information about you even if they have just one way in. For ease, people tend to adopt a ‘one password fits all‘ mentality; with the amount of separate accounts users of the Internet sign up for, it’s only a matter of time before they find the one that leads to your bank account or credit card. It’s called personal information for a reason.

Guys, I’m all out of time for my tale of being approached by a scammer – first article tomorrow, promise. Stay safe and be lucky in love. x