Online dating is more popular than ever, with millions of people all over the world using technology to find love. While many people are still meeting in traditional ways, dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble have skyrocketed in recent years. There are now more than 8,000 different dating apps worldwide, all of which promise you the chance to meet someone special.
Aside from meeting the love of your life, dating apps could also allow you to meet a scammer. Unfortunately, so-called romance scams have become more widespread in recent years. Scammers target lonely and vulnerable people to exploit them for money, and anyone can fall victim. As shown by ExpressVPN, these scams are getting more popular, but there are ways to avoid them.
Be Vigilant of Fake Profiles
Most romance scams are done through fake profiles, also known as catfish. A scammer creates a profile on a dating using someone else’s pictures and fake information. While they might be pretending to be a 22-year-old blonde girl from Norway, they’re actually someone completely different.
You can spot a fake profile by looking for inconsistencies in the information or pictures. For example, you might spot spelling mistakes in the bio or that some images appear to be blurry or out of focus. In addition, lots of scammers will start out very strongly, making it seem like they’re in love with you quickly.
While not every match you get is fake, being wary of each person is a good idea. Don’t accuse them of being scammers, but talk to them and work out whether they’re fake before pinning your hopes on them.
Avoid Giving Money to People
While it might seem obvious not to give money to people online, thousands fall victim to romance scams each year. These scammers can be persuasive and often use emotional manipulation to get what they want.
A scammer might tell you they’re in a hospital and can’t pay their medical bills. They may even say they need money to buy a plane ticket to come and see you. Whatever the excuse, you simply have to tell them you don’t have anything to give.
If someone is sincere, they’ll normally stop asking after the first no. However, scammers will often continue asking or will stop talking to you completely when they realize they can’t get what they want.
Don’t Share Private Information
Getting to know someone involves revealing things about yourself, but you should be careful not to give too much away. Your personal information can be used against you by scammers, so it’s important to keep some things private.
For example, you can tell someone what country you live in, but sharing your small town or address might not be a good idea until you know someone. In addition, you should never give out your banking information or anything that could be used to access your accounts.
Be careful with your contact information too. Some scammers will try to get you to leave the app to message somewhere else. That is because some messages, such as requests for money, will be blocked by the dating app’s content filters. Keep all messaging on the app until you’ve built up a good level of trust and feel sure the person isn’t a scammer.
Trust Your Instincts
Above all else, you should trust your intuition when talking to someone. If something doesn’t seem right, there’s nothing stopping you from blocking them and never talking to them again. There are plenty of other matches to meet, and it won’t be long before you find someone special.