Protect Yourself Against Online Relationship Scams by Joe Tracy

You can avoid being a victim of online relationship scams by taking note of these warning signs:

Being Asked for Money
This is the most telltale sign of a scam.  No matter what you think or what other people might say, it just isn’t a normal behavior to ask for money if you’ve never met someone in person.  Scammers are quite creative – they will ask you to help with airfare so they can come and visit, cash a check, help out with an emergency for you to send a money order and so on.
Some will ask for money fairly quick and others will show patience while trying to build a relationship with you, getting you to fall for the imaginary person in the profile they set up.

Initiating First Contact
Scammers virtually always are the first to initiate contact with you. If you get an email (or wink) from someone overseas, it’s best not to respond.

Wanting to Communicate via Email
An online scammer will want to take your communications to email as soon as possible because they know their profile may soon be deleted when an online dating service notices their pattern of emailing people. So many times in the very first or second email they will give you an email address and ask you to email them.

Fake Pictures
Some scammers will cut or scan photos from magazines.  Trust your instincts.  If you feel the photo is suspicious, chances are it’s probably a fake.
But that’s not always the case, as many scammers will actually steal someone else’s photo and post it. Photos are usually of a very beautiful woman. Don’t fall for it.

Unwillingness to Share Information
The person you are talking to showers you with attention and he seems to be overly interested in everything about you, yet doesn’t share a lot of information about themselves.  If they are avoiding your questions like a seasoned politician, then run.. 

Messages Vary
If you are exchanging emails with someone overseas, watch out for inconsistencies like a variation in the style of the email, language differences, repetitive statements, etc.. The scammer who initiated the communication with you may not always be the same one that carries it through. If something doesn’t seem right about the emails you are receiving, then its not right.

Besides looking out for red flags you can take other measures to further protect yourself:

1) Be the one always initiating communication via online dating services.

2) Guard your privacy.

3) Communicate with people locally, not overseas.

4) Trust your gut instinct from the start.

5) Never reply to communications from someone who sends you a note and immediately includes their email address for you to continue the communication.

Many people have fallen prey to online relationship scams. In one case, two men showed up at the same airport to meet a girl from overseas that they had sent money to for her “flight”. Both were left holding flowers at the airport staring at each other. They had apparently been duped by the same scammer.

While it is true that there are many people who find life partners over the Internet, it is best to always be on your guard when using online dating services. Don’t get scammed!