How to avoid dating
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Often the scammer will say an emergency situation has arisen and money is needed fast to avoid dire consequences.
(It is estimated that only 15 percent of fraud victims report their losses to law enforcement, so the real numbers are probably higher.) As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about. “Most people think the victims are middle-aged women who can't get a date, but I have worked with men and women of all ages—doctors and lawyers, CEOs of companies, people from the entertainment industry—who you’d never think in a million years would fall for these scams but do,” says Barb Sluppick, who runs romancescams.org, a watchdog site and online support group.
If they come up associated to a person with another name or who lives in a different city, you have good reason to suspect they were stolen from someone else’s profile.
And if you’ve been communicating with someone by email, check their address at a site such as romancescams.org, which compiles lists of email addresses belonging to known scammers.
Hook-up date sites open up many huge possibilities.
If you rely on the usual way of meeting people, you are boxed in by geography and might never meet anyone of interest.
The CR survey found that 35 percent of respondents who’ve tried online dating felt they had been grossly misled by someone’s online profile, and 12 percent said they’d been scammed.
Experts say online daters are always wise to be skeptical regarding what someone they've met online, and not in the flesh, tells them.
While the case was remarkable for its magnitude, when it comes to so-called “romance scams,” it still represents just the tip of the iceberg.
According to the FBI, romance scams and similar confidence scams cost consumers more money than any other kind of Internet fraud.
The website Scamalytics maintains a blacklist of scammers who use false pictures.
Interrogate the backstory: A little online stalking can go a long way.
If you are asked to send money and feel so inclined, run the whole scenario by someone you trust.