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Here are six things to keep in mind to help you spot and avoid scammers on online dating sites.
Anyone can be the target and victim of these scams—men, women, young, old, gay, straight, white, black, Asian, Hispanic… But the FBI states that women who are “over 40, divorced, widowed, and/or disabled” are prime targets for scammers.
The most common reasons that they give for needing money are not being able to afford a passport, visa, other travel documents, or plane tickets (often to come see you); an emergency stay in the hospital that requires a huge sum of money; getting robbed while traveling; or not being able to access their money from abroad.
There’s a huge variety of reasons that you could get.
If their profile says they’ve lived in Ohio their entire lives, but they’re using non-standard English, or have notably poor grammar, that could be a warning sign (think of the kinds of errors you’d see in a Nigerian scam email or on the phone, where they need to spontaneously come up with things to say. Obviously, there are plenty of non-native speakers out there who are sincerely looking for a relationship, and they could very well be from heritage speaking communities in the United State or Britain.
This isn’t a dead giveaway, but it’s something to watch out for.
Interestingly, the AARP says that men fall victim to these scams more often, but that women are more likely to report the scam.
The profiles of online dating scammers can exhibit some clear signs that something is off—you just need to know what to look for.
Most scammers choose victims that are older than they are, for example, so if someone who is significantly younger than you says that they’re interested, it could be cause for concern.
Scammers are good at being charming and saying all the right things—and they start it fast.
They have a lot of victims to get through, so they’re going to try to move things along as quickly as possible.