What is an Online Dating Scam?

If you are going to use the internet for online dating then it is vital you learn to recognise the signs of an online dating scam.

Signals of dating scams are quite easy to ignore if you are earnestly looking for someone to love you.

I say ‘to love you’ and not ‘find someone you can love’ because it is our emotional needs that these people prey on.

Before we look at specific dating scams you need to know the basics …

What is an online dating scammer?

There are two types of predators using online dating sites, players and scammers.

Players are looking for notches on their bedpost and this post will tell you how to spot and online dating player.

While both are playing on your emotional vulnerability, a scammer is a person who contacts you on an online dating site with the intention of making money from you, either for personal gain or for their employer.

Scammers are simply actors who play a role online to entice you to part with your money. They often have scripts and receive a percentage of the ‘profits’ they con out of you.

What is an online dating scam?

Dating scams come in many different forms but all share the same intention, to get you to pay.

The amounts of money involved vary, usually starting off with small requests for money so they can top up their mobile phone to call you (remember that 10 pounds sterling can equal a weeks pay in a poor country) but can lead to thousands of pounds once they have you hooked.

Consumer Direct (the UK Governments consumer protection website) defines a scammer as:

“An online dating scam is when a scammer, male or female, creates a false personal profile and makes contact with you via an online dating agency or even a specialised chat room. The scammer says that they are seeking romance or a soul mate but are really out to steal not only your heart but your cash too.”

This isn’t just the Nigerian ‘send a money order’ scam we are all hopefully familiar with now.

Other forms of scams involve getting you to visit premium rate websites or call premium rate telephone numbers.

There is also the ‘I want to meet you but need flight money, insurance, cash, visa’ or whatever but  of course on the day of travel their second cousin twice removed suddenly has a sick gerbil so they can’t travel. Of course they can’t possibly get a refund but if you send more money they will travel next month.

Over the next few posts we will look at some very specific scams, how to spot a dating scammer, the dating scammers toolbox and how to avoid scammers on online dating sites.

Where do scammers hang out?

Scammers are more often than not found on free dating websites, they are in this game to make money not spend it.

Those that do pay to join dating sites will join the largest international sites, as this offers a greater number of potential victims but no site is totally safe from scammers.

They will also join forums and chat rooms specifically for lonely hearts or dating.

People often mistakenly believe that scammers are male Africans but a quick look at the US Embassy website in Russia has an excellent question and answer section about internet dating scams which tells a very different story.

Victims of dating scams are stupid

If this is your opinion then think again. Surveys of victims of dating scams have shown that most are well educated, hard working singles and dare I say very ‘normal’ people.

One of the reasons these people get away with online dating scams is because their victims all believe they are not the type of person who could fall for a scammer, often believing they can spot a scammer a mile away.

We tend to hear more about women being scammed than men because men are less likely to come forward and admit they were scammed, however both men and women are regularly scammed online.

It is so important for all online daters to be educated and aware of online dating scams, which we will look at more closely in future posts. Remember to follow our 5 golden rules for online dating safety but for now we have answered the question of what is an online dating scam.

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • Bloglines
  • Squidoo
  • Ask
Online Dating Safety, Online Dating Scams

55 Responses to “What is an Online Dating Scam?”

  1. Rosy Says:

    Naira… I’m glad you found out this website! otherwise you will end up like me, trust him (Harry Cannon) to be a good and sweet talk person to play our heart easily! GOD is great! before his next move, I had found out this website. SALLY did a good job by providing info to us! thanks Sally for a job well done! I owe you.. come to Singapore and be my guest…. I am happy to show you around. For those guy, who got cheated too.. why not we be friend and we shall share our experiences, I am awaiting for your email. To Cyndi: I would love to see “Jerry and his son photo, can share with me Sally?. To: Louis Kennedy, you can have us ON again, but you must also remember this verse ” once bitten, twice shy”… good luck to you Louis!

  2. Sally Says:

    Hi Rosy

    You are so very welcome, I’m just glad you found the information in time. I would love to come to Singapore again, I lived there as a small child, but I’ll have to wait until I find a better paying job lol.

  3. Sally Says:

    Hi Cyndi

    Thanks for sharing them. The trouble is you can now look at them with a cynical eye but when you first receive them they make your heart beat faster .. at last a romantic caring man!!! That’s the trouble with rose tinted glasses, you see what you want to see, not what is really there.

  4. Sally Says:

    Cyndi was having a problem posting this one:

    This is one of my first emails from “Jerry” my
    “husband-to-be” … notice that he must be sending the same content
    out multiple times with minor edits, as he calls his son “David” and
    then “Tom” within the same note! Imagine my surprise when he told me
    that he was a graduate of Princeton, with grammar like this, no way!

    Hello sweetheart…In my spare time I take David to the cinemas,well for my wife
    its a sad story cos she was involved in drug trafficking and I believe in hard
    work and don’t believe making through the back door,she was caught and I had to
    pay $50k to get her bailed as if that was not enough she got her involved again
    and she got incarcerated and when she was released I heard she went straight to
    brazil for her shady dealings again,and the happy thing is that Tom lives with
    me and am soooo happy about that enough of my ex,how was your night love?really
    can’t wait to meet you in person and I don’t care about distance and I see in
    you my future wife…

    love is like an ocean
    It goes down so deep
    My love is like a rose
    Whose beauty you want to keep.

    My love is like a river
    That will never end
    My love is like a dove
    With a beautiful message to send.

    My love is like a song
    That goes on and on forever
    My love is like a prisoner
    It’s to you that I surrender.

    Take care and have a great day hun
    Your Husband to be

  5. Sally Says:

    and another:

    LAST POEM THAT I AM SHARING FROM NIGERIAN … this one was just plain odd.
    Overall its hard to imagine that I only knew him for a week, no?
    She’d known him her entire life
    She always dreamed to be his wife
    Just his smile made her heart melt
    But she never told him how she felt

    Forever hoped to have him here
    Always dreamed to hold him near
    Time passed and they both did grow
    But still she never let him know

    Perfect chances passed her by
    But she just couldn’t tell this guy
    No matter what she’d ever do…
    He still didn’t have a clue

    But one day her whole world did end
    When she heard news from a friend
    About the wreck he’d gotten in…
    She’d never see his smile again

    Now at his grave she softly cries
    The tears running from sad eyes
    This hurting girl whose heart is broken
    All because of love unspoken