Romance scams have been in the news lately from singles who are members of online dating sites and social networking sites. Every time I hear one of these stories, it breaks my heart. With Valentine’s Day putting extra pressure on dating, it’s extremely important to make sure that singles are doing their research when looking for a date, whether online or offline.
Know that online dating safety is of the highest importance here at Cyber-Dating Expert.
As a result, I’ve become a Spokesperson for Spokeo, an online search service which provides publicly available data to help you research your dates.
New research provided by Spokeo and Harris Interactive was just released which shows that 71% of Americans are willing to conduct some kind of informational search about the person they are dating. This tells me that singles are taking dating safety very seriously.
Here are 7 tips to help avoid being a victim of a romance scam.
1. If your date’s photos are either blurry or look like they are from a stock photo gallery, or look model-like or too good to be true, it’s time to do some digging.
2. Those involved in perpetrating a romance scam want to take the conversation off the dating site quickly and onto a private chat or instant messenger service. This avoids having the conversations documented or traceable by the dating site’s software. Until you’re sure about your date, keep the conversations on the dating site.
3. If he or she says they’re in love with you very quickly, don’t jump for joy just yet. Romance scammers often will say they’ve never felt this way before about anyone before and they’ve waited their whole life to meet you. Their grammar often isn’t correct and they have an accent if you speak to them on the phone.
4. If he or she lives out of town or out of the country, find out where they really live. If their efforts to visit you get repeatedly canceled due to a work or family emergency, you should be raising a digital eyebrow.
5. If your potential date has a work or family emergency and asks you to wire them money, don’t fall for it. It’s likely they’ll say if you really love them, you’ll help them out and they’ll pay you back quickly. Often the excuse is their funds are temporarily tied up. Don’t fall for it.
6. Make sure to look up the data that you have on someone you’re dating. This can be easily done by plugging the information you have into an online search engine to see if what you find online matches up with what the other person is claiming. Sites like Google and Spokeo can be very informative to research your date.
7. If any of these things happen to you, never ever send money. Do not sent money via Western Union or a foreign bank. Report the profile in question to the dating site and understand that you’re one of many that this person is writing to try try to sweep you off your feet and promise you a life of love and happiness.
Know that you can do a simple search of your potential date’s email address, phone number, or even user name by going to Spokeo.com.
Happy safe dating this Valentine’s Day.
Enjoy the Infographic below and feel free to share this with all of your single friends.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.Julie Spira is an online dating expert and was an early adopter of Internet dating. She creates Irresistible Profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more online dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.
Disclaimer: Cyber-Dating Expert is a paid Spokesperson for Spokeo
35% of Americans Willing to Pay for Dating Research in Order to Feel Safer – An infographic by the team at Spokeo People Search
It started out as an email sent from a man in New York who was a member of a popular online dating site. The recipient, an attractive intelligent single female shared the introductory email with some of her friends on Facebook, myself included. She wanted to know if she should go out with the man with the red flags. At first she thought it was hilarious. I told her not to go. Her curiosity got the best of her, so without further adieu, here’s an example of a date destined to go bad.
His first email appeared to be a “cut and paste” to many filled with a negative attitude. It read as follows:
“This may sound rude/odd but…what’s wrong with you? I have found there has to be a catch if I come across a cute, seemingly intelligent, well manner girl on this site.”
“I have tried this online dating thing for a while and to be honest… IT SUCKS!!!
“In the last month or so, I have been: stood up three times, canceled on at the last minute, met a girl who started to make out with another random guy at the bar while I watched, found out mid-date that the girl was inky 21 when her profile said she was 29, had a girl tell me how she is still in love with her ex, been told the day after a first date that she was getting back with her fiancé, but would love to use me for sex and my favorite…told that I was part of a “30 dates with 30 guys in 30 days” dare and that I had no shot. Fun times, right????”
“Now…based on the fact that you seem pretty awesome and the fact that I am apparently not cool enough to have plans on what should be a beautiful Friday night…How would you feel about being totally spontaneous and meeting me this evening? (who knows we might even like each other and get to make out?)”
“Now, I know you may want to email back and forth for days and then build up all this excitement hoping you found “the one”…but…I have found that usually leads to disappointment and then possibly therapy and sadness, right? Let’s skip all that nonsense and meet right away…OK? It will save us the let-down in the long run.”
“Now if you call/text/email, we can have possibly the blindest of dates…(assuming you don’t stand me up) or we can flirt via text from now until we do meet and build up expectations. Your choice, but first, please warn me about what is wrong with you so I know going into this that there will be little surprise! ;-)”
With an email like this, I would have done one of two things. Either deleted it without response and forgotten about it, or send an email saying “No thank you. Best of luck with your search.”
Comments from her friends included, “Just be careful” to “This is hilarious. Go and report back to us.” I explained that it was a mass email sent to many other women and told her not to go. Online dating safety is a hot button for me. I had a bad feeling about this from reading just the first sentence of his email. I thought she should use her time wisely and find a man who is positive, emotionally healthy and worthy of her. I told her to do her homework, Google his email and phone number to find out more about him if she really wanted to pursue this. I had a bad feeling. I was told that I was too serious and that this was hilarious.
She did indeed go on a date with him, which was a disaster. She said she should have known that he was going to be crazy. After resfusing to tell him where she worked or lived, he left her in the bar. That would have been fine if it was over, but it wasn’t. He started to send her mean and nasty text messages. She asked him not to contact her again, and he said “no.”
Not only does this date qualify for The Peril of the Week, but it’s a warning message to spot the red flags and remember how to date safely. Don’t give out your home or work address, create a separate phone number on Google voice so you can change it if you continue to get harassed by a date gone badly, and trust your intuition. Listen to your friends if they are concerned about you. There are many wonderful singles looking for love online, but if you come across a situation or profile like this, report it to the Internet dating site you met on.
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Online dating safety is important for singles looking for love on the Internet. We all want to find love, and usually the sooner, the better. What if you could have one phone number devoted exclusively to dating? Would you be more likely to be handing out your calling card?
If you’re hesitant to give out your home or cell phone number to someone who you’ve only corresponded via email with, you should be right. But there are several options to maintain your privacy while still scheduling dates on your calendar.
For my dating coaching clients, I often recommend that they sign up for a Google Voice account. Using Google Voice is free and is simple to use.
To get started, visit Google.com/voice to set up your account. The simplest way is to link your cell phone number so you can receive calls while you’re out and about. You’ll have the opportunity to select a custom phone number from several choices. Go ahead and reserve one for dating purposes. Take it one step further and order a social calling card with your new unique dating phone number on it.
Once you select your phone number, you’ll have the opportunity to record your name. I suggest using just your first name. Let him hear your voice and know you aren’t just a voicemail service.
You should record an outgoing greeting as well. Google will magically call your cell phone number and allow you to record your message. The good news is your inbound messages can be transcribed to you and received via text. If you’d like to screen your calls, Google voice provides this service as well. I advise singles to have this deactivated, as it could be a deterrent to having someone actually complete the call and leave you a message. You can always turn it on at a future time.
Do you only want to receive calls from your dates during specific times? No problem. Google voice lets you control weekday and weekend calls as well as the times you’d like your phone to ring. Otherwise, the messages will go to your Google voicemail box.
Still confused? Contact us at CyberDatingExpert.com/contact and we’d be happy to help you date safely on the Web.
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