If you’re lookin’ for love (sometimes in all the wrong places), chances are you’ll wind up on an online dating site at some point. Those who use dating sites can attest: you’ll meet some nice people there – and you’ll probably meet some weird people, too. You’ll have good dates and bad (and great and awful). And, unfortunately, as some people can attest, you might just meet some scammers.
We hear these stories all the time, and they tend to go a little like this: “I met this really nice woman on [fill in the name of the dating site]. Her membership was about to expire, so we switched to email. She’s from the US, but she’s working in [fill in the name of another country]. We connected right away, and we’re planning to meet. But things are a little tight for her right now because of [fill in reason for no money]. So I wired her the money for the ticket….”
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment. It really is. You’re on a dating site to meet people, and it seems like you have. But let the warning bells ring if you see or hear:
- an immediate request to leave the site. Many online dating sites have protections in place to help protect you from scammers.
- love at first sight. Most of us are hopeful people, but wow – love based on a profile and a couple of emails? Hmm. Sure, explore that, but watch out.
- any request for money. ANY request. For any reason: plane tickets, visas, a child’s (mother’s, whoever’s) hospital bill, expenses until their ship comes in…. That is a sure sign of a scam. Block and delete them and move along.
- any mention of wiring money. If you wire money, it’s gone. Buh-bye. You’ll never see it again. Good for scammers, bad for you.
So, in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, do us a favor: keep in mind that you want someone who’s after you, not your money – and that warning bells can sound like wedding bells if you’re not listening carefully.