Romance scams are becoming increasingly common, with thousands of victims being taken advantage of every year. The resulting emotional manipulation, financial exploitation, and psychological trauma can devastate victims.
During the last half-decade, individuals have collectively stated losses totaling a staggering $1.3 billion due to romance scams. This was greater than any other reported category of fraud as tracked by the FTC.
Despite the popularity of romance scams worldwide, 2022 saw over 366 million people relying on online dating services as their preferred option. Estimates from Statista suggest this figure will have grown to 440 million by 2027.
While this is a serious problem, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from falling for a romance scam. In this post, we will share ten tips for how to avoid being duped by a fake date.
Let’s dive in!
1) Choose a reputable dating site
Finding the right match online can be a daunting task. With so many dating sites out there, choosing a reputable one is important. The best way to ensure you find someone genuine is to use a site with a good track record of successful matches.
You can research and read reviews about any site you plan to use. It’s also a good idea to look for recommendations from friends or family who have used online dating sites.
2) Don’t be in a hurry
Romance scams can be hard to spot because scammers often try to lure victims in with an incredibly fast-paced relationship. If someone tries to rush you into a relationship without getting to know each other first, be suspicious. This could signify that they’re trying to cover up something or just want your money.
Take your time getting to know someone, even if they initially seem perfect. Ask questions and see how long it takes them to answer. Real relationships take time to build, so don’t rush into anything. The more time you take, the more likely you’ll spot any red flags.
3) Do your research
Before getting too serious with someone you’ve met online, you should do your research. Take the time to check their profile on various social media platforms and verify what they say is true. If you can’t find any evidence of them on the internet, chances are that the person may not be who they say they are.
It’s also good to Google their name and see if any red flags pop up in your search results.
Additionally, consider running an online check on PhoneHistory or any other reverse phone lookup site to confirm their identity. By entering their phone number into the search engine, you can quickly get information, such as their contact details, address history, education, and more.
This way, you can ensure that you’re talking to the person behind the profile, not some catfish out for money. It’s a simple and easy step that could save you from falling for a romance scam.
4) Check their story
Many romance scammers will make up elaborate stories about who they are and why they’re interested in you. If your potential partner seems too good to be true, take the time to check their story.
Ask questions about their life and activities to ensure their story adds up. It can be helpful to chat with them on the phone or via video chat to better understand who they are. Pay attention to how they respond and if anything seems off or suspicious. Don’t rush into a relationship before making sure their story is legit.
5) Don’t give away too much personal information
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to give away too much personal information when you’re dating someone online. It’s best to start slowly and get to know the person before giving out anything they could use to identify you.
Keep it safe and only provide details like your first name, city, age, and other basics. Don’t share your last name, home address, phone number, or other sensitive information until you are confident in your dating partner.
6) Be cautious of anyone who asks for money
Money is one of the biggest red flags regarding romance scams. If someone you are dating online is asking for money, that’s a major warning sign that they might not be who they claim to be. Even if they seem genuine and convincing, don’t give in to their requests, and always remember to practice caution.
If a person is in need, suggest other ways to help them. Trust your instincts. Don’t hesitate to say ‘no’ to someone who raises suspicions. Don’t let yourself fall for these scammers, and stay safe.
7) Be wary of flattery
Romance scammers often resort to flattery to lure their victims in. They may shower you with compliments, praising your beauty or intelligence. Or they may build up your confidence by telling you that you’re better than the people around you.
While it can feel nice to be complimented and admired, be wary if you’re receiving compliments that seem too good to be true. Chances are they’re trying to manipulate you into trusting them. Don’t forget that it’s okay to be suspicious and ask questions.
Be especially wary of anyone who professes their love for you right away; if they’ve only known you for a short time, they’re likely trying to scam you.
8) Don’t send intimate photos
The internet can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be a dangerous place. Sending intimate photos to someone you’ve never met in person can lead to serious consequences. Not only could these images be used to blackmail you, but they could also be shared with others or even put up for sale on the dark web.
If someone asks for intimate photos, it’s a huge red flag that this person may not have your best interests at heart. If someone truly cares about you, they won’t ask for something like this. It’s important to keep your body and private information safe and secure. Remember, once you share those photos, you have no control over what happens to them.
9) Watch out for red flags
When it comes to online dating, it’s important to be vigilant and watch out for red flags. Here are some of the warning signs to watch out for:
- They avoid answering specific questions or don’t respond at all.
- They always have excuses for why they can’t meet in person.
- They ask for money for any reason.
- Their profile is missing information or contains suspicious details.
- They use overly romantic language or phrases that are too familiar.
- They act possessive or jealous even though you’ve never met them.
- They pressure you into sending intimate photos or sharing personal information.
If you start to feel uncomfortable or see any of these red flags, it’s best to trust your gut and end the conversation. It may be hard, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
10) Tell your friends or family about your date
Going out with someone for the first time can be exciting, but you should always let your friends or family know. Telling your friends or family about your date can help keep you safe. Make sure to tell them who you are meeting, when, and where you plan to go.
If the person you are going out with seems sketchy, it might be a good idea to bring a friend along. This way, not only will you have someone to talk to, but you will also have a safety net in case anything goes wrong. At the end of the day, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Romance scams are, unfortunately, a common occurrence in the digital age, but that doesn’t mean you have to fall for them. If you take the time to properly vet a potential date online and listen to your instincts, you’ll be able to avoid falling prey to a fake.
It’s important to remember that the person on the other end of the chatroom or social media profile may not be who they say they are, so proceed with caution. By following these tips, you’ll be able to stay safe while enjoying the online dating scene.