Avoid online dating scammers & spammers
Unfortunately, people are not always what they seem. Dating sites, social networks and other internet services are always targeted by scammers. Here are a few examples of common scammer behaviours to watch out for and report:
• If someone you are in contact with starts declaring their undying love for you within a matter of weeks (or even days or hours) take that as a red flag. You need to know someone to come to love them. Instant messages of love should be taken with caution. Use common sense and don’t be afraid to speak to a friend to get a second opinion.
• If someone is pushy and demands your email address or facebook name - you should be very cautious. Knowing your email address might allow them to access any of your other online accounts.
• If someone tries to take you off the website and either move you to another website or onto email you should be cautious. Dating sites provide security and a buffer that email or social networks cannot.
• This really should set off alarm bells when someone asks for money or financial information.
• Someone offering you money - Who gives money away to strangers through a dating site? These are always scams. The same goes for anyone with a sure-fire get rich quick schemes. The only one trying to get rich quick is the scammer as he or she fishes for your bank details or other financial information.
• Threats and blackmail - These are ugly words. But some scammers have tried to threaten money out of people for not showing pictures, webcam footage or messages that they have managed to get out of users online.
Advice for avoiding scammers
• Never ever respond to a request for money.
• Never give out bank account or other details.
• Never be pressured into giving your personal information such as email address or facebook address.
• Beware of the sob story - someone telling you how much they want to visit you but need a loan to pay for the ticket/visas. Or stories about a desperately ill family member who needs help with medical expenses.
• Don’t let the passing of time affect your judgment. These sorts of 'scams' may take time to come out in messages, time in which you may very well have come to trust and value a relationship with your online contact.
• Do not share pictures or information about yourself or others that may compromise you. Your private life should stay private until you know someone really well and can start over time to trust them with things.
Reporting a concern or problem
Don’t assume scammers are illiterate foreigners or idiots. They are not to be under-estimated. They practice tugging at heartstrings, at showing tenderness or a neediness. They tell people what they want to hear.
If you suspect that someone you're talking to may be a scammer, stop your communications and immediately report him or her. You should never feel too stupid or ashamed to report someone. You are not the person who should be ashamed and stopped.