Avoiding Dating Scams

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    Here are few steps to consider when engaging in online dating.

    1. Scrutinize their profile. Take the time to carefully look over the profile of anyone you are interested in. Be sure there is more than one picture and that the pictures show different situations. If the person is claiming to be single check the photos for a wedding band, liars could easily forget a small detail like a ring. Check their distance from you. A scammer won't care about the distance between you two, it makes it easier to never meet and easier to hide the truth. Don't waste time on long distance scammers.

    2. Ask questions. Ask your love interest where they are from, where they went to school, where they hang out. If this person is from a different city, do some research and ask about local landmarks. Ask where they work and what they do. Scammers will certainly lie about their career to make themselves sound better. Again, do some research about the duties involved in their line of work and ask what their job entails. If your love buddy knows nothing about their own career ditch them.

    3. Too sweet too soon. You just met online and they are already calling you sweetie, honey, baby, sugar or other lovey-dovey names. They may even mention marriage after a few chat sessions. They will say how perfect your two are together and all this without ever having met. They might even suggest that it was fate or God bringing you two together. They may also say they feel depressed when they don't talk to you. All of this is intended to manipulate your emotions. Avoid anyone who falls madly in love with you after a few chats.

    4. Money. They ask for money. Your new love interest is hit with a sudden wave of illness and needs financial help. They were in a car accident or found out they have Cancer and need chemotherapy but they just don't have the cash. If they aren't suffering from an illness, then they are desperately love-sick and NEED to see you. Unfortunately, they don't have the cash. This is where you will be asked for money. If this happens, report the scammer and move on with your life. Don't get wrapped up in all the drama, none of it is true.

    5. Get Proof. Ask your love interest for current photos. Not photos taken last week or yesterday. Have them use their phone or webcam and take a picture right there and then. If your love claims that isn't possible, give them the benefit of the doubt and say you need a photo of them holding a paper with a message to you or ask them to write their username on their hand. Either way, get a real photo in real time.

    Online dating is a great way to meet people. It's also a playground for liars and scammers. So, be careful who you invest your time and emotions in. Take a good long look at the profiles of anyone who messages you. Ask personal questions about where they live and what they do and research to see if what they say matches with reality. Watch out for people who fall head over heels for you after a few chats. Never give anyone money and ditch anyone who asks for it. Ask for photos and lots of them and anything else that you need to prove the person you are talking to is trust worthy. If this person is interested and honest they will have no problem providing what you ask for. Use these tips and If you are talking with a scammer, you will soon find out.

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