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Watch out for on-line dating scams

READ MORE: Watch out for on-line dating scams
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The internet is revolutionizing the dating scene from the traditional dinner and drinks to couch and keyboard. This offers singles many more options, but also poses many more risks. Many singles have been victimized or scammed by someone who wasn't who they claimed to be. It's important to know how to protect yourself while you're looking for love online. “People may not always be what they seem to be online,” said Scott Lawson of the Pender County Sheriff’s Office. “They can lie about their age, where they are, who they are, what they do for a living even." Dee Casey handles domestic violence cases at UNCW. She shares valuable tips for online dating. "Number one, protect yourself. When you do use a site, make sure that it's got a lot of privacy control. When you do any kind of communication, do not give out your real identity. When you do make a contact, use an e-mail that is different from the one you normally use, and that's pretty easy to do. When you have a phone conversation, block your phone number, make sure there's no way that that can be traced." If you think you may be in serious trouble, don't be afraid to ask law enforcement for help. The bottom line is when you're surfing for love online, use your best judgment. A scam that men in particular should look out for is the Russian Women Black List. Girls-r-u.com has a black list of young and attractive mail order brides who con men into falling for them so they can get a fiancée visa. But once they get to the US, they take the guy's cash and flee. Their pictures and information are posted on the site to warn men before they're duped.

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Background Check

I think its extremely important to take all the necessary precautions when dating online. Sure having an online chat or exchanging emails seems pretty harmless. However, what happens when you decide to meet in person. How do you really know they are who they say they are and what happens when you meet for coffee your 32 year old investment bankers turns out to be a 55 year old sexual predator? For me I really on background check before I meet someone for the first time. Its quick, easy, and affordable to run a background check using basic information like name, state, or email address. Its important for me to play it safe when dating online, and for me running a background check first is how I maintain my security.

Online Dating Scams

Online Dating is a fantastic medium to potentially meet a prospective partner. And, yes, some people do tend to bend the truth a little in what they say or present in their profiles. However, this is not done from malice but a way to try and present themselves in the best possible light to attract someone. This in my opinion is not how it should be done – but it is a far cry from the modus operendi of a scammer. Romance Scams as they are know amongst those of us involved in the Online Dating Industry and Law Enforcement Agencies are not directed at the “desperate, lonely dateless” The people who general are victims to these scams are intelligent and financially successful people. Let’s face it – if you don’t have any money - you are not much good to a scammer. If I may, here are some additional tips to keep your readers safe from the clutches of being scammed. If followed – it will never happen to you: 1. Read the terms and conditions of the Dating Site – make sure that they don’t have the rights to give or sell your information to anyone else. This is how you get phishing spam. 2. Watch what is in the background of your profile photo – a scammer will look to see if you have nice things. Never have anything but yourself in the photo – a blank wall behind you is the perfect background. 3. When writing your profile – don’t give specific information about you or your family members – especially about your children if you have them – this means to a scammer you are potentially vulnerable and gives them an angle to work on you. 4. Stay on the Dating Site to communicate – Dating Sites spend millions of dollars to keep you safe by being anonymous. If you stay on the site the scammers get nervous as they know they have a greater chance of being caught. 5. If someone is pressuring you to communicate off of the Dating Site – cease communication with them immediately. They obviously don’t have any respect for your privacy or safety – so what is their motive? 6. 3-4 emails via the Dating Site - is enough for you to work out if there is any connection between you and therefore you would like to meet. Any more than this and you start having a relationship which is unrealistic. 7. Keep all of your personal information to yourself until you have decided to meet – this will save you from being harassed if you discover that when you meet – this person is not for you. If they don’t have your details – they can’t contact you and you can “block” them on the Dating Site if they start to harass you. 8. Romance Scammers in general will not want meet you – they can’t they live overseas. So wishing to meet after 3-4 emails is a good indication of where they live – excuses are warning signs. 9. Stay away from profiles that say they live in the same city or country you do but they are currently living overseas because they are on a short term contract. This is the latest Romance Scam that is surfacing. Another reason to stick to the “3-4 emails only” philosophy. There are more tips – but if your readers follow these – they will have a safe online dating experience. Hope these tips have helped. Smiles to you, Yvonne

Thanks for the great tips,

Thanks for the great tips, Yvonne! Another one is if & when you do decide to meet the person, ALWAYS meet in a public place! At least until you're comfortable & feel secure. Do not disclose where you work & try to give an alternate phone # other than your landline, if at all possible.

Question about dating scams

I just read your article, and about an hour ago I found out that I was involving myself in a scam, and I did my own investigation to find that it was true, and terminated it immediately. I wish I would have read your article first before I gave out my cell number! I'm I in big trouble because of this?