How to Help Make Online Dating Romance

Online dating has been around for over 20 years, and has grown in popularity each year. Today, with over 1,500 dating sites, it is a $4 billion dollar industry with hundreds of millions of members.

As online dating becomes more prevalent, so does the existence of ‘romance scammers’.

Who are romance scammers? They are individuals often located in Africa or Western Europe who join dating sites with a fake name and fake profile. They message several dozen (or hundreds of) members, and attempt to start a dialogue via Email (away from the dating site).

Their objective is to start a virtual relationship with someone, and then at some point request money, sight unseen. Sadly, this is a common occurrence, and people are duped every day.

Having said that, there are some red flags an online dater can watch for to ensure they don’t fall victim to one of these scams. Here are some of the biggest ones:

1. There are no plans to meet in person. Romance scammers will never want to meet face to face, because they are not what their photo suggests. They will usually make up a story about being abroad for work. If there are no plans to meet face to face, move on.

2. Their grasp of English is typically poor. Romance scammers are usually not native English speakers, and this usually comes across in their messages. This is not to suggest that everyone with poor grammar is a scammer; however, if they claim to be native speakers and you notice many glaring errors, it is a red flag.

3. Their photo seems too perfect. It’s common for romance scammers to use the most attractive photo they can find as their profile photo. They want to attract attention, of course, and this is the best way. If you are surprised that such a gorgeous person reaches out to you first with a desire to speak, it may be a red flag.

4. Insistence in communicating outside the dating site. If the first message you receive is accompanied by an Email address and an insistence to speak directly via Email, beware — unless there is a good reason, there should be no problem communicating on the dating site’s messaging system.

5. They ask you for money. This is, by far, the biggest and most obvious red flag, and yet people are still often duped. It should be an unbreakable personal rule that you never give money to anyone whom you met on a dating site, under any circumstances.

Online dating is so popular for a reason — it is an efficient way to communicate with and meet other singles, and it can be a springboard to a meaningful relationship. Simply heed this advice and make sure you are not fooled by someone who it out for your money.

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