Putting yourself out there to meet someone is a big step. It also comes with risks. Yet there are many ways to minimize that risk. ScamAwareness.Org provides tips and information that teach people to recognize the "red flags" that may indicate potential scams, and arm them with information that they can use to protect themselves and their loved ones. In a warning about romance scams, the organization identified 4 warning signs of online dating scam artist. Someone like this typicallly:
Asks you to leave the dating website you met through and to communicate using personal e-mail or instant messaging
Professes instant feelings of love
Makes plans to visit you but is then unable to do so because of a tragic event
Asks for money for a variety of reasons (travel, medical emergencies, hospital bills for child or relative, visas or other official documents)
Another tip-off is when someone sends you a photograph of himself or herself that looks like something from a glamour magazine.
Staying Safe When Dating Online
Let’s look at 15 web smart things that you can do to protect yourself when using an online dating service.
Only use dating sites with well-known reputations.
If you use a public computer to access your online dating account make sure to logout when you’re done so that your information will not be available to the next user.
Be cautious about opening email attachments from someone you have just met. If you do make sure that your internet security software is up to date.
Use other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to see if you can find more information about the person you’re interested in. Companies do that before they hire someone. Why shouldn’t you do it before you date someone?
If you can find and access their Facebook page select More at the top under their profile picture. Here you’ll be able to view Check-ins, Likes, Events they’ve gone to, who they follow, etc.
Do a web search to see if there are other records of the person online.
Do an image search with Google to check profile photos. Do this by searching Google for the name then select the Images link at the top of the page. Select Tools to narrow your search by Type to Face or Photo. Also under Tools you can set a custom date range.
Use a people search engine like Pipl, Spokeo or Yasni to find a personal profile, images, social media information, and more.