Online Dating Scams
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Online Dating Scams

Many people who you contact on an online dating site will be perfectly honest, wonderful people who would make great dates, and maybe even future spouses. But online dating websites are also magnets for scammers who take advantage of people in vulnerable emotional positions. When you're interacting with people on dating sites, protect yourself by watching for several types of scams.


It's easy for people to misrepresent themselves online, and you should always be wary of people you interact with, especially before you meet in person. For example, studies have found that up to 1/3 of men who date online are actually married. If a man rarely answers your calls, typically calls you back at the same time each day, and is reluctant to introduce you to friends and family, these are all signs that he may actually be married.

People often misrepresent their age, education, employment, appearance, and even their genders. If you're communicating with someone online who just seems too good to be true, there's a chance they may be. You should always keep the chance of false information at the back of your mind, at least until you meet someone in person.

Password Security

Most people know that they should never reveal their passwords to other people. If you ever get an email or phone call seeming to be from the administrator of an account asking what your password is or having you confirm it for any reason, don't provide the password. Instead, call the company through the number listed on its website and ask the true employee whether this request came from the company.

But your passwords can be vulnerable in other ways, too. One thing to be especially careful about when developing online relationships is revealing answers to security questions on your password-protected accounts. Before beginning to communicate with people on online dating sites, check what your security questions are on password-protected accounts. Many of them involve details about your early days, like what street you grew up on, where you attended elementary school, and the name of your first pet. Protect these pieces of information to maintain password security.

Identity Theft

You end up revealing many personal details over the course of an online dating relationship, but these details can be used against you to steal your identity. Armed with a photo, full name, and some details about your life, someone can pose as you in many contexts. Protect yourself by revealing personal details only when you've met someone several times and completely trust him or her. Even then, do so cautiously and only as needed.

Some of the most important details to protect are your last name, mailing address, and full date of birth. Therefore, you should drive yourself to your first date with someone you met online so you can get yourself home as well. Also, if possible, don't give out your home phone number, which makes it easy to discover your home address. Of course, you should also not give out your bank account numbers, Social Security Number, and other key details.

Nigerian Scams

One of the most destructive types of scams online daters encounter is known as a Nigerian scam because many of them originate from that country. After earning the trust of someone through an online dating site, the scammer contacts the victim with a story about having trouble with a bank. The scammer then offers to send the victim a money order that the victim will deposit into her own bank account and then wire the money overseas to the scammer's account. The problem is that these money orders are fraudulent, but the money the victim wires is real, leaving the victim in a financial mess.

Sending Money

Many other types of scams are related to sending money. They often involve sob stories about family problems, health issues, not getting paid by an employer, or having trouble getting money together to come visit you. Never send money to someone you haven't met, and in most cases, the same is true of people you've met, too. Chances are that this money won't be used for the stated purpose, and you won't see it again either.