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Through Private Eyes: How to protect yourself from online dating scams

It seems just about everyone you talk to these days is using some form of Internet dating. Where once we would have met potential dates in a bar or on the street, dating online is rapidly becoming an increasingly popular avenue for finding love.

But with such high Internet traffic hitting these dating sites, the risk of getting caught by potentially costly online scams is rising too

Caption: The unlucky in love have more than the dubious-looking bar fly to contend with these days; a whole new world of internet scammers are hitting the playing field.

Here are the top 3 ways to protect yourself from online dating scams.

1. Know who you’re chatting with…

You can be just about anyone behind a computer screen. This is why practicing caution and trusting gut instincts is vital when it comes to avoiding scammers.

What we really mean by this is: if they seem too good to be true, they probably are.

Solution: We recommend you ask questions, delve deeper and get potential love interests to send a recent photo with the date on it.

Our research indicates that online scammers rarely use authentic names and if someone is lying about their identity, inconsistencies in their story should start to show.

2. Keeping personal information personal.

If an online date is going amazingly well, don’t just hand out your address and phone number. We at Lyonswood Investigations have found experienced scammers can access someone’s bank account or credit card details with only a home address.

Solution: To stay in touch, we recommend you give the date a mobile number and not your home phone. This is because mobile phones are much harder to track.

We also suggest our client’s set up anonymous email accounts when communicating with a stranger through online dating. This precaution protects individuals as it’s quite simple to extract information from an email address that has been used for years with the same password.

3. Be Alert.

One of the most harmful and serious scams found in online dating is called “The Shakedown”. Usually run by an overseas operator, the shakedown involves a scammer pretending to know and like you. After establishing some sort of trust, they then enquire about money for an emergency related situation. These situations might include a sick family member or the scammer wanting money to come visit because they can’t stand being apart any longer.

Of course when the money gets transferred, 9 times out of 10 you will never hear from them again.

Solution: This scam is easy to dodge by simply avoiding any date that asks you to send money. Lyonswood recommends you take note of earlier conversations and emails for any inconsistencies or contradictions in online chats. Sometimes scammers rely on scripted seduction and may start to repeat themselves. This is a sure-fire sign of a scammer.

And those are our top three ways to protect yourself from online dating scams.

We hope this list has given you some useful tips about staying safe in the world of online dating. For additional Lyonswood Investigation enquires, please click here.

Want to know more about protecting yourself from online dating scams?

View our the previous articles on this subject: Private Investigators: The dangers of online phishing scams.

Good luck and happy dating!