The television ads for online dating services make the process seem so inviting. And for busy professionals and other folks who spend time between work, family, and school, it can help make finding interesting people easier to meet. But with that convenience comes some warnings.

The FBI Warns About Online Dating Site Scams

In February 2016, the FBI warned Americans that dating sites, no matter how reputable, are gateways to being a victim of an online scam. Their warning explains that the most common victims are divorced women, over the age of 40, but anyone, of either gender, and any age, is vulnerable.

The bureau tells us that many times the victim receives small gifts of flowers, candy, and the like from a newfound sweetheart on a dating site. Ultimately, the emails and online messaging leads to phone calls, and the discussion eventually turns to meeting IRL (in real life). But, the problem is your new found beau is broke and asks you to send him money for a plane or train ticket. Once you do, your new online love disappears. There was never any intent of meeting up with you.

Another scam the FBI has been working on is an extortion scheme. After you meet someone on a dating website, your new online soul mate suggests that it would be easier to talk on a certain social networking site. Once the two of you begin conversing on the new site, conversations turn intimate at the instigation of the criminal person. These “private” conversations are then posted on the internet site where they occurred along with pictures, phone numbers and more. Victims were informed by the scammer that for a one-time payment all the information would come down – but most of the time the scammers collect your money and don’t uphold their side of the agreement. But it is often worse, thousands of men and women are defrauded out of hundreds, and or thousands, of dollars at a time. The crime is difficult to get a true loose on because many victims are ashamed to admit they have been duped out of their money.

Signs That Your New Online Soul Mate May Be a Criminal

1 Shortly after you begin chatting online on a legitimate dating site, he or she asks you to move the conversation off-site. This is because the most reputable dating sites monitor what’s happening on their site, and have the power to end a person’s membership for cause, including scams.

2 Large age differences are another signal that things may be amiss. When a 25-year-old girl claims undying love for a fifty-something man she has never seen, it should give pause to the guy.

3 Showing of extraordinary wealth is another tip off. When a person you have never met begins telling you and showing you photos of things that only the wealthy possess, bells should start going off. Usually, scammers simply steal photos from websites and other people’s personal pages such as Facebook.

4 Poor grammar and confusing idioms are a warning that your new true love may be a foreign scammer.

If the language used in written conversations ask lots of questions such as where are you from and where did you go to school?

5 Fate precludes you from meeting – scammers may claim to be close by but usually are not. They could live across the country or even in a foreign country. Chances are their profile pictures are fake too. When asked to meet in person, scammers tell victims they are traveling, have a long-distance emergency, or work, or are stationed, overseas. Some may claim their money is tied up and ask you for traveling money – never give money to someone you only know from being online.

Common sense is the most effective way of preventing you from falling victim to an online scam by someone you came in contact with on a dating site.  The Grafton Group can assist you with spotting fake profiles and or finding out more about a real person before you commit further to the relationship.