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Online Dating Safety: Are You Falling In Love With a Scammer?

Apr 5, 2008
For the online dating industry life is good right about now. According to Jupiter Research, revenue generated now stands at over 500 million. Keep in mind this represents numbers compiled for 2006. Internet dating took a giant leap forward last year by being featured and talked about in quite a number of national and local media outlets so you can pretty much figure they will easily surpass that mark for 2007-2008.

However the online dating industry is not the only one making a fortune. If there is one thing you can be sure, it is that there will always be people who try to game the system. Say hello to the scammers.

No question online or off it is important to be on your guard but with internet dating being on guard takes on an added urgency. One of the major benefits of online hookups is also one of its most devastating drawbacks. The power of being anonymous has many people running wild but it has become an incredible tool for online scammers.

This puts you in a tough position. You meet someone online and everything feels so right. Time flies when you two are chatting and you feel it will not be long before the first meeting.

And it will be a first meeting alright. The meeting of your money and their bank account. The whole key with these scams is to play so heavily on your emotions that giving the scammer money almost seemed like your idea.

Like anything in life there are no one hundred percent guarantees but there are some things you can watch out for.

1. Goodbye Contact System
You two have been communicating pretty regularly with no problems thanks to the dating service you both have signed up for. Now however, they want to bypass that and start communicating with you directly via email; specifically your primary address. Why? Do not be afraid to ask that question. Tell them you want to keep things as they are and gauge their reaction? Do they get angry and impatient about it? If so watch out.

2. The Too Good to Be True Photo
Your online photo shows you at your best but their photo looks like the step out of a high caliber fashion magazine. You do a double take and think to yourself that you have struck gold. Chances are you haven't.

Many scammers are experts are finding a photograph online and cropping it until it fits their profile. The whole point is to get your hormones racing way out in front of your reasoning capabilities as well as your instinct. When you see one of these, take a step back and do some more investigating.

3. They Love You. Really?
Regardless of how much time has passed they start laying it on thick. They love you and cannot live without you. Where did this come from? You admit the conversations have been terrific but keep in mind you still have not met this person. Whether scammer or not, anyone professing their unrequited love should have your instincts ringing like a ten alarm fire bell.

4. The Hard Luck Story.
They would sure love to meet you but wouldn't you know it they just do not have the transportation or the funds. In Nigeria (currently the scam capitol of the internet) the hard luck story has been raised to an art form.

They are stranded in a hotel by an angry desk clerk who has confiscated their airline ticket. He is holding it as payment since your online dating partner's belongings were stolen and their whole family was wiped out in a single engine plane which crashed on the runway as they were on their way to the bank to deposit your partner's inheritance check. Get the idea?

5. Money Time
You've kept your wits about you for the most part but now the gloves are off. They want money and they want it now. The communique get more desperate and are now coming faster than the hard luck stories. In fact they start giving you specific instructions about transferring money.

You are not online to be anyone's personal atm machine. If you feel the need to continue the communication let them know in no uncertain terms you will not provide money for anything. If they are a scammer that will probably end the "romance" right there. If they persist end all communication and if possible contact the proper authorities.

There are many people who are genuine and really do want to meet you online; for that reason do not be afraid to give some of the online dating services a chance. But we live in a world where many others driven solely by greed are out to commit cyber pick pocketing. Just remember the five tips listed above, keep your emotions in check and your instincts on high alert.
About the Author
Daryl Campbell of .-The Relationship Tip Find out the 3 ways to guarantee safe internet dating
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