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Looking for a date this Valentine’s Day? If so, beware, because this is the time of year when you’re most likely to fall victim to an online dating scam.
Here’s how to protect yourself.
Online dating scams are out there, and they target people who are looking for love. These people try to defraud the romance-seekers and play with their emotions, eventually hoping for a financial windfall. In most cases, these scams occur via social media or email, but they can also happen on popular dating sites.
Online dating scams often target people who are older as they are less tech-savvy. However, scammers won’t skip an opportunity to target someone younger if they think they can get away with it. Generally, once contact is made, the relationship begins to develop over the phone or online.
Romance scammers focus on making the victim fall for them. They know exactly what the person desperate for love wants to hear. Once they start getting “serious,” the scammer will ask for money. This cash might be for a plane ticket to come and visit, or maybe it’s because of a made-up illness, or even money for legal issues.
As you might imagine, once the scammer gets the cash, they disappear. The simplest tip to avoid becoming a victim of an online dating scam is to not send money to a person you’ve never met; someone who really cares for you would never put you in a difficult financial situation.
At this point, you’re probably thinking “how could anyone ever fall for this.”
They do, though — all the time.
It’s easy to sit here now and assume it would never happen to you. But emotion clouds judgment, and it is, in fact, easy for humans to get emotionally attached to someone they’ve never met.
You may have seen MTV’s hit show “Catfished”; if you have, you’ll notice how common an online dating scam really is (for all ages, both male and female). In fact, in the United States, the average victim of a dating scam lost more than $15,000. In total, online dating scams cost victims in the U.S. $187 million each year.
Here are seven telltale signs that you’re being scammed:
If you are looking for love online, keep these safety tips in mind:
Unfortunately, many of these online dating scams are never reported because the victim is too embarrassed. But, keep in mind that these scammers have been doing this for many years, and they are experts at tricking innocent people.