How to Identify an Online Dating Scam


No matter the time of year, online dating scams prove to be among the most prolific ways for scammers to swindle money out of victims.

In the wake of Valentine’s Day, it seems especially prudent to remember how to avoid such scams, which can often lead victims to lose up to $10,000.

AARP Fraud Watch has issued a set of “red flags” to watch for to identify potential scammers. Does your “date” do any of the following?

*Wants to leave the dating site immediately upon meeting and quickly asks for an e-mail address, phone number, or instant messaging username.

*Professes true love after just a few contacts.

*Has a profile that seems too good to be true, including a supermodel-worthy photo.

*Won’t answer basic questions about where they live and work. Or, claims that he or she is a U.S. citizen who is abroad, is wealthy, or is a person of important status.

*Asks for money, multiple times (and, usually through a wire transfer) to pay for travel, a child or other relative’s hospital bills, recovery from a temporary financial setback, or expenses while a big business deal comes through.

*Communicates in a more desperate, persistent, or angry way if you don’t send money immediately.

As always, be careful about the personal information you share online.

And if a date seems too good to be true…maybe it is.


Photo by  Martin Cathrae via Flickr CC License

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