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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.
If their profile says they’ve lived in Ohio their entire lives, but they’re using non-standard English, or have notably poor grammar, that could be a warning sign (think of the kinds of errors you’d see in a Nigerian scam email).
For example, scammers will often ask you to communicate with them outside of the dating site—via email, through Facebook, or even on Skype.
These methods give them better access to you and can help them gather additional information that they can use to con you.
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.
Scammers also often list themselves as widowed (especially with a child), self-employed, or working overseas.
They might also say that they live near you, but that they’re away; they could be in another country on a trip or for work, but they’ll almost certainly be somewhere far away where you can’t meet them.
Even if someone’s profile looks legit, there are other signs to keep an eye out for, especially during the beginning of your communication.Early on in a courting relationship, you’ll probably ask a lot of questions, even basic ones like “how tall are you? ” If the person you’re talking to is avoiding these basic questions, that should be a big red flag.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.Interestingly, the AARP says that men fall victim to these scams more often, but that women are more likely to report the scam.The profiles of online dating scammers can exhibit some clear signs that something is off—you just need to know what to look for.
Here are six things to keep in mind to help you spot and avoid scammers on online dating sites.