5 Warning Signs that Your Online Romance is Really a Scam
1. They want to text or email instead of using dating apps
Most websites monitor activity to spot scammers and give them the boot. They will suggest to go to a “private” channel so they won’t get caught.
ProTip: Use the dating or social media sites. If they are pushing you to move your conversation, that’s a big red flag that this may not be legit.
2. They fall for you immediately
Look, we see that you have it going on and we know it feels good to hear how freaking awesome we are. Most relationships have a 'getting to know you' period that takes time. While you might find a profile picture attractive, diving in fast and hard is almost always a bad idea. Scammers exploit your emotions and love is the easiest emotion to take advantage of. They might even send you gifts and tell you “deep dark secrets” but watch out! Once they have you hooked on their sweet, sweet words it’s much easier to ask, even demand, you to send them money.
ProTip: Take your time with any relationship, especially ones that bloom from your DMs. We believe in love at first site, but have you even seen this person? We still love you.
3. You haven’t met them in person
Most scammers are not operating within the United States but their profile might indicate they actually live close and they are away on business or visiting relatives overseas. They always have a reasonable excuse for not meeting you. It could be an emergency came up, they will already be out of town, or they just don’t have the money.
ProTip: Reverse Image Search their profile picture. Save their profile picture to your computer, go to images.google.com and click the Camera Icon to upload their picture. You’ll be able to tell if that image was stolen from another website.
4. Speaking of money, they need some – really, who doesn’t?
These online dating scammers are quite creative and desperate in their emergency situations. They need money for a child to get medical care, money for legal troubles that aren’t their fault, or even gaining US citizenship.
ProTip: Do a little of your own digging! Search their name on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Google to see what comes up. You might be surprised that they aren’t actually a savvy millionaire business owner.
5. They ask you to do things on their behalf
Maybe their postal system is slow or they just don’t have time to do this stuff themselves. They might ask you to send something in the mail to someone they know or they might ask you to cash a check they are sending you, keep a little for yourself, and then wire the money or buy gift cards to send out. If you end up doing this, the wire and gift cards are gone and the check will definitely come back as fraud. Never consent to anything on their behalf. These requests could be part of something illegal and you don’t want to get caught up in that.
ProTip: Talk to your financial institution if someone is asking for money! We are always on the look out for our members and don’t want you to lose any of your hard-earned cash. If the online person says what you are doing is a secret, walk away immediately! They should want to shout it from the top of the world!
If you feel like your online relationship isn’t legit, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you actually know to ask their opinion. If you find that your online romance is really a scammer, you should report them to the website you met on and the Federal Trade Commission by going to https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov and clicking the “Scams and Rip-offs” tab.