Issue 6 of How to create a killer online dating profile
How Not To Become A Romance Scammer's Next Target.
Online dating is exciting, and it’s fun. The buzz of meeting new people and gaining a little new attention is addictive. Not to burst your bubble, because I want you to enjoy your online dating endeavours, but it’s an idea to wise up on a few things in order to not be taken advantage of by those with unhonourable intentions. That’s why I’ve created this easy to digest post. It aims to help you avoid the pitfalls of online dating scams by pinpointing key scammer behaviours.
Habit #1: They Start With Flattery
They say flattery gets you everywhere, but in this case, it’ll get you nowhere. Is the person showering you with compliments? If they message you first, they are likely to say something that makes you feel like they are really into you.
Top tip: this is your first warning sign, but wait for their next move before you dismiss them, as they could be a normal person who really does like you!
Habit #2: They Have Unreal Looking Photos
Do they look like they could be a model, actor or are dressed in a uniform? Is their profile picture polished, like a professional took it? This is your second warning sign, but again, it’s a clue not necessarily a sure fire sign.
Top tip: keep going with an open mind, but be vigilant at this stage.
Habit #3: They Want Your Email Address
This is an absolutely classic move. Online dating sites that you have to pay for scour the membership base for scammers, and the technology used is so sophisticated that it could be a matter of minutes until a scammer is caught and thrown off the site. To counteract this, scammers say to you that they would rather communicate with you through emails, instant messaging and texts, rather than through the dating site. The excuses they give will sound relatively legitimate to you, but they are just trying to get you off the site, and away from prying eyes.
Top tip: keep your conversations online for at least two or three days.
Habit #4: They Are Deeply Inquisitive
Scammers tend to ask you lots of personal questions, pretending to be really interested in you. They might ask about past relationships, your hopes and dreams, what you would like to do when you retire. Whilst this is fine, and a normal part of getting to know someone, make sure your answers are not so personal that you are disclosing details of yourself that the scammer could use against you.
Top tip: whatever you do, don’t give out your surname or personal details including your address or where you work.
Habit #5: They Are Not Forthcoming
Have you noticed that your love interest initially talked about themselves, but they haven’t said much since? That’s because a scammers past is made up, and it’s effort for them to remember which life story they are telling you, as they probably have many made up personalities.
Top tip: Your new love interest could well be scammer if you feel the conversation is very one sided.
Habit #6: They Slip Up
If they do tell you anything about themselves, they might slip up and say something that doesn’t really add up. This is a warning sign. It won’t hurt to ask why a few days ago they said they were 10 when they moved to England, when today, when asked they said they were born in England, for instance.
Top tip: go with your instincts and call them out on any behaviour that doesn’t quite add up.
Habit #7: They Call You Affectionate Names
Are they calling you something affectionate like ‘Darling’ or ‘Sweetheart’ even though you have only spoken to the person a few times? Are they talking about settling down with you, or spending all their time with you? This behaviour would make most people uncomfortable, so keep your wits about you if someone starts doing this.
Top tip: don’t get too attached just yet and watch for their next move.
Habit #8: They Don’t Want To Speak To You On The Phone
Emailing and texting is all very well, but online dating usually progresses from one level to the next.
Top tip: If your online date has no desire to speak on the phone, this is a big red flag.
Habit #9: They Don’t Want To Meet You In Person
People who are messaging and phoning each other usually want to meet in person. If your love interest doesn’t want to meet up, or keeps canceling dates, this is another big red flag. This person is most likely situated in a different country, with no desire to meet you in person.
Top tip: this is probably the biggest red flag so far, you’d be well within your rights to stop contact with someone who doesn’t want to meet you in person.
Habit #10: They Have A Personal Drama
Has something suddenly happened to your online date? A family emergency perhaps? Maybe it might be that their family member has become ill and they haven’t got enough funds to cover their treatment. Do they want to visit you but they don’t have enough money? Under no circumstances, how ever much you believe them, send them any amount of money. It’s not normal to send money to someone you’ve never met, it’s also not normal to ask for it! It’s best to cut all ties and move on.
Top tip: it might go against your feelings, but this person doesn’t care about you, they only care about getting your money.
Wising up on these key scammer habits will help protect you from getting hurt, and stop you falling for the wrong person. From experience, putting yourself out there online will make it quite hard to differentiate a scammer from a normal person! I think my single most important tip would be not to stop conversing on the dating site you’re using and be tempted to move over to texting or emailing. It’s so important to have those initial conversations over the first few days monitored by the dating site, so that if there is something fishy about your love interest, you will have the protection you need.
This real video diary shows exactly the kind of tactics that romance scammers use against men and women. It even shows the Whatsapp messages of the moment the scammer asked for money.