Online Dating Scams
Selecting a Service
Only use reputable internet dating services. Choose a service based on personal recommendation or advice from a trustworthy information site. Beware of review websites that claim to be providing independent advice. Where there is a 'site of the week' feature or any one particular service is recommended, it may very well be the service that provides the greatest referral fees. Also beware of customer review sites. Although we haven't heard of this happening with singles sites, there have been several scandals where businesses have payed people to endorse their products on supposedly independent customer review websites and there is no way the review sites can check this, so you can't assume that the reviews are automatically genuine.
Trustworthy services allow you to register and do at least a basic browse without a fee, so you can decide if you want to become a paid member. Do not hand over any money until you're certain you wish to use the service offered. Also beware of free singles sites. Remember that if they let you in without a fee, everyone else gets in for free as well so these are most likely the favorite places of idiots and scammers.
Note that if anyone contacts you via a social networking site and asks you join a particular singles site to view their pictures, they might be being paid for signups and after you've registered you might discover they do not exist.
You may get one or two e-mails shortly after you do a free registration, encouraging you to log-in and read the messages that you've been sent. If reading e-mails is part of the paid membership then be aware that these early messages might not be totally genuine as some less trustworthy sites pay individuals to 'welcome' new users without being clear that these are not true messages from people interested in meeting you .
You should beware of scammers as some con men use these websites to meet likely victims. Some things to look for are photographs that look like clippings from a magazine (in which case they probably are) and individuals obviously offering sex (it may be that this is their profession).
When you start exchanging messages with anyone, watch out for messages that do not refer to you individually or things you've discussed in previous e-mails. E-mails with a 'form' appearance may very well be showing that you are part of a large group of people being pursued by a con artist who doesn't have time to respond personally to each message.
Requests for presents, favours of money or for your particular address or bank account number should always be refused. Don't assume that a cleared cheque or money transfer order means you're safe. If it turns out that it was a forgery then you're resonsible for the money, not the bank. If anyone does ask you to do something financial for them, send them a link to this page and if they are true, they will understand.
Do not give out own details that would allow someone to impersonate you. Do not ever send someone any of your 'numbers' (card numbers, PINs, national insurance numbers etc.), passwords, or your address or telephone number. Do Not give anyone you are going to see your address, or you may find that when you come back from your date, you've been robbed.
Previous research into print-based personal advertisement services has shown that there are some individuals who 'blitz' messages out to pretty much everyone else on the service. These may not be con artists, they could be genuine individuals who are not particularly choosey and who are fishing for loads of dates. However this tactic could also be used by fraudsters to source new prospects, and do you genuinely wish to date someone who will date absolutely anyone?. The services most likely won't like us talking about this but if you wish to check this you could always register twice, one genuine registration and one with a fabricated profile that is different to the genuine one. If you get identical e-mails to both then you know you've heard from a 'blitzer', or possibly a fraudster.
Added Monday February 28, 2011 by administrator under Articles