Safe dating online: how to spot online dating scams

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Valentine’s Day is approaching. If you’re among the millions of Australians who use online dating, you should be on the lookout for scammers taking advantage of the Valentine’s Day blues.

Even if you just use online dating websites to make friends, you should try to keep up your guard, especially in February.

The Australian Competition Consumer and Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch website reported $1,600,000 of losses to online dating scams in January last year, and $1,000,000 of losses in March. However, in February, losses skyrocketed to $4,400,000.

The most common delivery methods for online dating scams are the internet, email and social networking.

Identifying the scam

The basic plot of the scam is usually the same:

  1. The scammer will pretend to fall madly in love with you in a short period of time.
  2. They will attempt to gain your trust; sometimes this can involve sending gifts in the mail or sharing very intimate information about themselves; this step can take months.
  3. Once they have gained your trust, they will ask you for money in one way or another. Common examples include helping to pay for flights to come and visit, paying for their family member’s emergency surgery or helping them to recover from a financial hardship.
  4. If you send the money, the scammer will continue to attempt to get more and more money until it’s no longer possible, leaving you emotionally and financially devastated.

How to spot an online dating scammer

These tips below will help to identify many of the online scammers, but remember that just because they haven’t been detected, doesn’t necessarily mean they are legitimate.

Look for inaccuracies

If the details on someone’s online dating profile don’t match their pictures or the messages they have sent you, they might be scamming you.

If you receive a message where someone has gotten your name or even their own name wrong, they may be sending out dozens of messages and have forgotten to change the names.

How are their language skills?

If your online beau claims they’re from an English-speaking country and they have a university degree but still can’t manage to string simple sentences together, they might be lying about their background.

Check their images

It’s easy to find a picture of someone dashingly dateable on the internet, but did you know that you can search the internet for an image to see where it came from originally?

Simply right click on an image and then select ‘Copy image URL’, then go to Google Images  and click on the camera icon in the search bar. Now right click and select Paste to copy over the URL, and click ‘Search by Image’.

You shouldn’t find any results by doing this with pictures you have received from someone in a private message, or with their dating profile picture.

Visit Google’s help page for assistance.

The simple rule to protect yourself

While dating (online or offline) is never without emotional hardships, you can avoid the financial hardships by refusing, no matter what the supposed circumstance, to give money to anyone you don’t know well in person.

Read more at the ACCC’s Scamwatch website.  

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Written by ryanbo


Total Comments: 22
  1. 0

    I just can’t believe how thick some people are? even if anybody who says they are madly in love with ask you for the price of a postage stamp RUN, DELETE, any genuine person worth their salt wouldn’t ask a stranger for money especially if they haven’t met you in person. Better to be single than broke or even worse dead. Too many con artists lurking out there with the downright dangerous mental cases.

  2. 0

    Just reading the above list of warnings I think this would be a good article to retain for reading again before going to vote at the next federal elections.

  3. 0

    es, If Bronywn Bishop asks you for money so she can spend another $88000 on aother Taxpayers funded European fling, run, no matter how much she says she loves her constituants. Also wonder why Christopher Paine is so determined to protect her. Maybe she scammed that she is also madly in love with him too.

  4. 0

    Actually I have normally voted for the conservative parties until now, but after Hockey, Bishop and the others,I might just look at the ALP, certainly If they replace Shorten with Anthony Albanese.

  5. 0

    Fools and their money are soon parted…… old fools especially…. get a pet rock and care for it.

  6. 0

    Totally agree CindyLou…. you just have to look at some of the older, overweight and frumpy people – both male & female – to really ask the honest question. “WHY would a Tom Sellick or Harrison Ford look-alike be madly in love with me?” You would think that years of experience and maturity would give them more sense. Are they really so desperate? – I have no sympathy, absolutely not an ounce of empathy, and they deserve their (usually) financial loss. Being over 60, just what on earth is so wrong with being single? – hell, being single has enabled me to travel, move when I want to, get jobs I want, have my house to my taste, and not be answerable to ANYONE. Sorry – I fib…. apart from my much loved little dog. You would not, never, find me with a partner. I have fantastic long term male friends, and the absolute thought of ever being with, or even wanting to be with, a partner – nearly makes me want to throw up. As I say about my little dog – ‘she doesn’t feed me bull shit: she doesn’t stand me up. She doesn’t lie to me or cheat on me, and she loves and trusts me implicitly, no questions asked’. That says it all…

  7. 0

    St Valentines Day too… is just another SCAM…another Roman Church nonsense…like all their other idol worship days such as Halloween, Easter and Christmas, all idolatry and satanic.

  8. 0

    Guys, I got scammed by these bastards and I wasn’t having it. i contacted [email protected] . I was able to secure his real face before reporting him to the police.

  9. 0

    Social Engineering as far as the con game goes they’d probably be more leery of things than most. If you’re dealing with a person that’s not up to par on the technical aspects of things maybe you might be able to fool them… case the person who tricked the scammer into handing over their private key for their bitcoin wallet. I’ve gotten several scammers arrested in the US because they were not as technical as they thought they were… i.e. java hook inside of an html email. I’ve found plenty of people by not even trying to trick them. I just pretended to be a fool until the last second. You all should try it. Java hook pointing to a malicious server inside an email. Most of these guys are not going to change their email settings to not allow html based emails. I know this because a majority of you recieve html based emails. A small script that points to another script ohh shit I think that’s one we all know… either way that’s how I catch most scammers that I make time for. //Hire professional hackers without upfront payment



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