Online dating is a great way to contact and meet new people. Either for free or for a small fee you can have access to thousands of singles looking for love.
However it is an unfortunate fact that whilst the vast majority of people using these services are decent law abiding citizens looking for love there are those that seek to exploit the vulnerabiltiy of singles online.
A common trick comes from African or Eastern European nationals who e-mail users with tales of family deaths, large inheritences and if only they could get across to the UK if you pay them some money they would share this money with you. They often ask for your private e-mail address for “privacy” purposes.
Of course this is a scam pure and simple, yet some users may be caught out and it is important to learn to identify these scams.
Firstly do not be fooled by their profile details – their sign up information may say they are from the UK, United States etc.. but this does not mean they are. More often than not they are sitting in an internet cafe in Africa.
Secondly check for language and spelling – broken English is often a good sign of a scam.
Thirdly do they seem overly interested in you – remember if it is too good to be true it usually is
Fourthly are they requesting personal details. Often these scammers will request your e-mail address for “security” reasons.
How do I protect myself
NEVER give out personal details, even an e-mail address unless you know the person. Nearly all online dating sites offer a secure internal e-mail system whereby you can chat to users without revealing any of your personal details.
If you do suspect a member is attempting to commit a crime then report them to the dating site administrator who will take the necessary action against the offender. If you are sure it is a scam then also report the user to their ISP who may then disable their e-mail.
Remember despite this the majority of users of online dating services are genuwine decent people. A bit of caution however could stop you getting caught out.