These days we all feel like we are pretty savvy when it comes to online safety and no one wants to think that they could get taken advantage of. However, it’s easy for even the smartest people to get sucked in by an online dating scammer because they are masters of manipulation and creating emotional connections.
If you have ever seen the documentary or the MTV show Catfish you know there are a lot of people out there looking to make not so legitimate connections. Some are lonely and insecure and some pretend to be someone else because it’s a lot easier than being who they are. Others are trying to scam people for money or for simple entertainment because they like the attention.
So how can you be sure the person you’ve been connecting with is who they say they are? Here are some red flags to be aware of:
Too Good To Be True
Have a look at all the photos, anything that’s too glossy or posed is most likely pulled from online. Do a Google image search to find out where else it can be found. Alternatively, any photos that are fuzzy and look scanned from an old photo, are most likely hiding something that they are uncomfortable with, aging, weight gain, hair loss, etc.
Look for photos that seem recent and clear, there really isn’t any excuse for not having current photos, nearly everyone has access to a digital camera these days. They should have a range, some head shots and at least one full body, no hats or sunglasses. If there is any doubt in your mind ask them to snap a picture and send it to you. If they put it off or have an excuse why they can’t, they are most likely avoiding it for a reason.
There are some legitimate people that will message you from way out side of your area but in general if someone can’t meet you it gives them a more credible reason to continue messaging without added pressure. Ask them to Skype, if they have an excuse as to why they can only message, text or chat on the phone, they don’t want you to see them physically and that is a red flag.
Do They Create Sympathy
They will often start building a story as to job loss, problems with abusive exes, car accidents etc. then tell you they want to keep talking but they are going to have to cancel their phone, internet etc. They are basically asking you for money so they can continue your relationship together. A legitimate love interest is not going to bring up money or finances of any kind. Move on.
The Power of Google
If you have serious doubts about the person, they keep putting off meeting you and some of the signs are there, use Google. Search their phone number, name, Facebook etc. You can also copy and paste parts of their profile to see if it appears anywhere else.
Trust Your Gut
Once an emotional bond has been created a lot of people tend to ignore their feelings, trust your instincts from the start. If you are serious about finding love, you will want that person to be serious too. If something is telling you it’s not right, it probably isn’t.
Online connections should have a certain flow. First messages, a couple of texts, chatting on the phone depending on schedules could be 1 or 2 times, then an initial meet-up. If the person doesn’t want to follow this flow, they most likely aren’t as serious as you and it’s time to move on to someone that is.
Online dating can be a lot of fun, so don’t let worries about scammers affect your online experience. There are a lot of great people on there just like you. Just be smart and trust yourself. I would love to hear your thoughts, leave me a comment in section below.
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