Many scammers will be prepared to answer these and even more complicated questions, but if you can’t get answers from a suitor, you should be suspicious.
While there are online dating scammers from all over the world, a significant number of them come from non-English-first-language countries, which means that sometimes there will be communicative markers that indicate your suitor isn’t who they say they are.
Here are six things to keep in mind to help you spot and avoid scammers on online dating sites.
Anyone can be the target and victim of these scams—men, women, young, old, gay, straight, white, black, Asian, Hispanic… But the FBI states that women who are “over 40, divorced, widowed, and/or disabled” are prime targets for scammers.
Again, both men and women can and have fallen victim to online dating scammers, but women tend to be targeted more aggressively.
Interestingly, the AARP says that men fall victim to these scams more often, but that women are more likely to report the scam.
If someone sends you a message and says they’d like to get to know you, save a copy of their picture and use Google’s reverse image search to see if anyone has posted about that photo being used for a scam.
Of course, some people are just shy or are nervous about meeting people that they’ve met online—this isn’t anything out of the ordinary (it’s also possible that they’re trying to avoid getting caught by a spouse The Ashley Madison dating site was recently hacked by hackers who threatened to leak the entire database unless the site closed. Asking for any other financial information—where you bank, anything about your credit cards, how much you have in savings—should be a big warning sign.
In August, a British man was sent to jail after defrauding two women of over £300,000 (5,300) through online dating sites.
He had convinced them that he was a diplomat and that a US marine general had fallen in love with them, causing one woman to pawn jewelry, empty her life savings, sell her car, and take out loans to help this general move to the UK. In 2011, the Internet Crime Complaint Center estimated that the online dating scamming “industry” was worth over million, but it’s likely much higher than that, due to the difficulty of making a good estimate.
It’s possible that it’s someone looking for an affair on a dating site The Internet seems ecstatic about the Ashley Madison hack, with millions of adulterers' and potential adulterers' details hacked and released online, with articles outing individuals found in the data dump. Even if someone’s profile looks legit, there are other signs to keep an eye out for, especially during the beginning of your communication.
For example, scammers will often ask you to communicate with them outside of the dating site—via email, through Facebook, or even on Skype.