Protect Yourself from Online Scams
Identity theft can occur through dating apps. Online dating is fun, but you should always stay vigilant. Products like IDShield, Webroot and IdentityForce can be used to protect yourself and your personal information from online scammers. Do some research and be aware of how to protect yourself from identity theft before you start meeting people online.
Now, let's a take a look at the most common dating app scams. Familiarize yourself with what to look for, and how to avoid dangerous situations.
1. It Seems Too Good to Be True
If you are talking to someone who you have met online through a dating app and they seem too perfect, they likely are. You should always listen to your gut instincts. It is the part of your left brain from the days when humans lived as hunter gatherers in the wilderness and that intuition saved us from being eaten by predators or eating poisonous berries. If you are speaking to someone online and you feel anxious about them, and not in a good way, it can be a sign that you are dealing with a romance scammer.
2. They Don’t Want to Meet You in Person or Keep Making Excuses
When it comes to dating a real and genuine person, you will want to meet them eventually. This usually happens once you have established a connection. You should always meet someone from a dating app in a public setting to ensure your safety. As much as you may feel like you know them, it is possible they aren’t who you are expecting.
There is a term called catfishing, which means that someone pretends to be a different person online. They often upload photos of a model or actor or even someone they know and pretend to be them. When someone doesn’t want to meet you in person or keeps canceling plans, it is likely that they are a catfish. If this happens once it is good to be wary, but if it keeps happening, then it may be time to kick them to the curb, no mater how you feel about them. If not, then hiring a private investigator is another viable option to figure out if they are who they say they are.
3. A Reverse Image Search on Google Reveals Contradictory Information
You can avoid being scammed by doing a reverse image search on Google of the photos on someone’s dating profile. If you are suspicious that someone you are speaking with isn’t who they say they are, this tool can help you get to the bottom of it. A reverse image search scans websites to see if the image exists online and can link it to other online profiles or websites.
If you perform a reverse image search and find that the profiles online don’t match what this person has told you, then it is likely they are not that person. It’s also possible that they may be lying to you about certain aspects of their life. Again, this would be a situation where you may want to hire a private investigator to see if this person is who they say they are.
4. They Profess Their Love for You Before They’ve Met You
Did they tell you they were in love with you after only a few days or weeks of chatting online? This is usually enough for those alarm bells to start ringing in your head. If they do this and it feels weird to you, it probably is.
5. They Ask You for Money
This is the romance scammer’s time to shine. Although you have not met them in person yet, they reach out to you saying that something has happened, and they need money. Maybe a family member has fallen ill, and they need help with the hospital bills. Maybe they need the money for the flight to come see you. Maybe there is a business opportunity, and they will transfer you the money back with interest. These are all common senior scams. You should never transfer money to a stranger who you have not met in person, who seems suspicious or you haven’t known for very long.
6. They Want to Send You Packages or Money
Why would it be suspicious if someone wants to send you money? Two words: money laundering. The romance scammer may have illegally printed money or stolen cash. They mail it to you and then ask you to send them a money transfer in return and you can even keep a small commission. This is exactly how criminals launder money.
They may also ask to ship you something and ask if you can forward it to a new address. They may give you the excuse that they are moving and can’t ship it directly until a certain date or that it is a surprise for a friend, and they don’t want the friend to know they shipped it.
Whatever the excuse, package reshipping is a tactic that criminals use to throw off the police when selling stolen goods. If you believe you have fallen victim to such a crime, you should contact the police and report it.
Dating is fun and you should still put yourself out there to find true love. However, it is important to stay educated about dating app scams. You should always meet someone from online in person in a public place. Never send money to someone you have never met and take things slow. Single women between the ages of 40 to 60 who are divorced, widowed or disabled are the biggest targets of romantic scammers, as senior scammers feel they can take advantage of that person’s loneliness.
Finally, always use reputable dating apps and sites. Our Time and Silver Singles are highly rated apps for the 50 plus crowd. Bumble and eHarmony are great for a general age range, and don’t forget to still have fun. Happy dating!