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Online Dating Fraud
With the rise of the internet and the online world, more and more people are using online dating sites to meet new people. Although most reputable online dating services use as many filters and ways as possible to try to ensure that users are genuine, it is extremely difficult to identify all of those who are presenting false information and who are out to trick and use people for their own gain. As a result, online dating scams and online dating fraud are unfortunately still active. Most online dating services offer advice on how to spot and avoid scammers and fraudsters, but below are some of the key ways to try to avoid being trapped.
Exactly what is online dating fraud ?
Online dating fraud is more often than not a scam which is a pre-meditated method devised by someone to trick others, often into giving them money or valuable, personal information that they can use for illicit purposes. The techniques used in doing this usually involve presenting false information, creating a non-existent character that people may feel sympathy for, and appealing to the better nature of genuine people. Those using online dating services are vulnerable because they are required to give extremely personal information and details about themselves. They are looking for people who will be interested in them, and in whom they can be interested.
What to look for?
The first thing to remember is that, sadly, scammers do exist. Vigilance is needed at all times when using a dating site. Some of the most obvious signs of a scam or activity by a scammer are:
• Direct requests for money; this could be in the form of requests for assistance to travel to a meeting, or financial help due to a personal or family problem
• Requests for personal information outside the normal, for example bank account details
• Offers of ‘personal services’ that require payment
• Unreasonable requests for personal information, for example, place of work, financial status, tax bracket, address, family members etc.
• Presenting as not totally engaged with a dialogue, for example being repetitious, failing to maintain a consistent style, being confused in ongoing conversations
• Unreasonably trying to push a relationship forward in a short space of time, or any other pressured approach
• Trying to open a dialogue outside of the dating service
Things that don’t add up
Being vigilant will pay dividends when thinking about the information people present. Scammers can slip up by being inconsistent. For example, photographs may show someone standing by an expensive car they claim to own, but they may claim temporary financial hardship. The job they claim to have may not match their dress in photographs. They may talk of traveling to places that are way beyond their stated home and business addresses. Sometimes they just seem too good to be true.
Use of language can very often give clues as to when a scammer is operating. Overly dramatic phrases at the start of a dialogue such as ‘I have fallen deeply in love with you, ‘I must have you in my life’, ‘You are what I have always dreamt of’ very early on in the process should arouse suspicion. Pleas for emotional and financial support due to dramatic personal circumstances should be treated with suspicion. Use of language that does not seem to match the personal details that have been given should also be treated with suspicion.
Things that can be done
When someone seems like a perfect match but some doubt still remains, engaging a service that can quickly and efficiently verify someone’s personal details outside of the dating service can put doubt to rest. Are They Safe provide background checks and identity checks that will look into a person’s formal details and quickly confirm if they are genuine or not. We can run background checks and identity checks on the individual to see whether they really do exist or are using an alias.
Suspicions and concerns should always be raised with the online dating service so that they can take appropriate action against those committing online dating scams and online dating fraud.