How to Spot Online Dating Red Flags

Although you may be heartbroken by an unsuccessful relationship, you shouldn’t have to lose money too. People on dating sites seek some form of emotional connection and romantic fraudsters have found a way to exploit this.  People have unknowingly sent substantial amounts of money to dating scammers. We’ll be discussing a few tips to avoid online dating scams.

Catfishing Explained

Catfishing is when people are lured into a romantic relationship using a fake online profile. The title was coined from ‘Catfish’, a popular documentary on MTV which aired in 2010. The program follows people who are in a relationship with people they’ve never met before. Most times, this supposed lover is exposed for using fake pictures of other people, hence the term ‘catfish’.

Top 7 Tips to Spot Online Dating Red Flags

We’ll be looking at 7 effective tips to spot and avoid red flags, particularly when using these international dating services:

  1. If you’re talking to someone online and they are unwilling to meet you in person or speak to you over the phone, chances are that they are not who you think they are.
  2. In order to obtain important details about you, dating scammers are known to ask their victims numerous questions without answering personal questions about themselves. Armed with enough information, they can successfully steal your identity.
  3. Establishing a romantic attachment too quick is a major red flag. If the person you’re talking to is already telling you they love you without meeting you in person, this could be an attempt to earn your trust. Also, they may start asking to move the chat away from the dating platform to somewhere else like emails, text, or instant messaging.
  4. Romance scammers are known to defraud their victims by lying that they are stranded in another country or that they cannot afford an international visa to come down to meet their victims.
  5. Scammers get the sympathy of unsuspecting victims by lying that they recently lost a loved one or that they require emergency funds.
  6. If there are too many loopholes in their story, or they cannot seem to remember something they told you before whenever you bring it up, this is a red flag.
  7. Are you talking to someone that looks like a model? This is not to say models aren’t on dating sites, but it is very likely that you’re talking to a scammer. Another common scenario is when they keep raving on about their ‘supposed wealth’.

Is Catfishing a Criminal Offense?

Although using another person’s pictures online is not a criminal offense yet, it is certainly a violation of the terms and conditions of the dating website. If you encounter a fake profile, it’ll certainly help someone out there if that account is reported to the platform.

The only scenario where catfishing is a punishable offense is when the fake profile is used to defraud unsuspecting victims.


How to Avoid Being Catfished

  1. Request to speak on phone: Sending a number with an international area code or a different accent from where they told you they’re from is a major catfish.
  2. No matter what happens, do not send money. It’s unwise to send potential partner money when you haven’t met them physically. Even if you have met them, it is advisable to conduct a background search before doing so because it is a common tactic for scammers to hire actors as part of the scheme.
  3. Reverse search their pictures: Chrome allows you to search for images on Google. Simply right-click on the image on Chrome, otherwise, search for the photo on Google Images to verify their identity.
  4. In the event that you have sent your bank or other financial details, contact the appropriate financial institution immediately, it may still be possible to block financial transactions on that account.

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