Online dating is more popular than ever before. Naturally, the scams involving this form of dating has also gotten a great deal more sophisticated as well. Therefore, even if you err on the side of caution, it can still be possible for you to be ensnared in one of these nefarious traps.
The good news is that the technological edge can work both ways. This means that you can use various digital tactics to figure out whether or not someone is who they say you are. In fact, you can start doing this from the moment that you are interested in someone’s profile. Here is what you need to do to avoid online dating scams using technology.
Start With Search Engines
Search engines are a veritable gold mine of information – if you know how to use them. Now, one of the easiest things to do can be to Google the name you have been given. Of course, not everyone has blogs, profiles, and other online accounts. So, it is not uncommon for this search to come to a dead end, even with legitimate dating profiles.
This is why you need to kick things up a notch. So, start by using the reverse image search function available with Google. You can upload the images on someone’s profile onto the search engine. Then, the site will look for any similar images. If the perpetrator has been using the same image to scam other people, it should pop up.
Regardless of your results from the previous strategy, there is still more you should do. Has the person contacted you with flattering, loved-up messages? Well, such messages can be quite difficult to come up with, on the fly. This is why these scammers tend to send the same messages to numerous victims.
So, copy and paste what you have been sent onto a search engine site. If these messages have previously been posted somewhere, they should show up. This will give you a better idea of whether or not someone is legitimately interested in you.
Now, it is important to know that some of the more experienced scammers will have taken care to hide their online personas. This is why the next few steps are just as important.
Verify Personal Details
One of the oldest tricks in the book is for a scammer to pretend that they are not in the state or even country. A popular strategy is to say that they are a soldier who has been deployed overseas. Having such an excuse makes it easier for these criminals to avoid having to meet you in real life.
Thus, one of the first things you should do is to ask for a phone number. If someone is being upfront about where they are in the world, this should be fairly evident with their phone number, thanks to the area code. Not to mention, calling them will help you to verify, to a certain degree, that they are who they say they are.
Well, the sleuthing doesn’t end here, though. Now that you have this individual’s phone number, use online trace technology to verify the personal details they may have already provided you with. With a phone number alone, you may be able to learn someone’s full name, address, and more.
Then, it is simply a matter of comparing the information you have been given with the details that you have found out. Do they line up? If so, this may be good news for you. However, if you have been provided with completely false information, you know that you are being duped.
The best thing about this option is that it is completely anonymous. So, if the person you are looking up ends up being legitimate, they will never know that you did this kind of research on them!
Check Dating Scam Sites
Did you know that in 2018, there were over 20,000 romance scam reports filed? And that was just in the United States alone. What this shows is that over the years, hundreds of thousands of people have been misled and fallen victim to thefts.
While this is a disturbing statistic, there is one silver lining. It means that there is more information about these scammers than ever before. This has given rise to a number of dating scam sites – much like this one.
If you were to visit any of them, you would find forums that detail scammers’ profiles, information, and even methodology. All this is on file if you only know where to look. Therefore, if you do feel like you are being led astray, you should visit these websites. You may able to dig up the information that you need.
Can’t find what you are looking for? That’s not a problem. Simply leave behind details about the profile you are investigating. If someone else has been scammed by the same profile or a similar person, they will be able to contact you.
At the very least, you will make sure that other women who are looking for information about that profile will find what they need. In turn, you will be able to prevent someone else from being scammed as well.
Check Social Media
It is important to keep in mind that there are different kinds of romance scams. Sure, some of them are run by people in different countries who are intent on stealing as much money from you as possible. Sometimes, however, the fraud may be simpler than that. It could just be an Average Joe, trying to extort money from you.
If this is something you suspect, then take your investigation in a different direction. Here, it is social media that will be your most powerful tool. After all, just because someone’s profile checks out doesn’t mean that they are being honest about their intentions.
Does the person in question claim to be rich and have a great job? Well, this can be easily verified through sites such as LinkedIn. Look up someone’s profile and see if it matches up to what you have been told. For instance, if someone has been boasting about wealth but actually has been unemployed for several months, this is definitely a red flag.
Other sites to look for people are Facebook and Instagram. This is where most people post pictures of their lives. So, within a short period of time, you can figure out what they look like, what part of the country (or world) they live in, and if they are married or in a relationship.
Now, some people may voluntarily add you onto their social media profile. However, if this looks a little bland or fake, there is a good chance that it is. Even non-scammers often have two or more social media profiles. It only makes sense that a fraudulent individual will have multiple accounts as well. Therefore, a bit more digging is warranted.
Do a Deep Dive
Sometimes, to really avoid being scammed, you have to dig a little further. In fact, this is something you should get used to doing when dating online. After all, at the end of the day, it is important that you are safe. This includes financially, emotionally, and physically.
So, if you want to ensure that you are covered on all sides, a little more research is warranted. These days, there are a number of legitimate sites that can find out all kinds of information about someone. For instance, did you know that you can look up someone’s criminal record?
Such details come in handy if you want to find out if someone is a con artist or a criminal. If there are previous arrests for fraud, for instance, then this is certainly something you should be concerned with. It shows that this person has a lot of experience in scamming people out of their money.
Opt for a More Secure Dating App
It is important to think about the kind of dating app you are on. There are some, like Tinder, that are largely meant for hookups. As such, these apps don’t really focus much attention on verifying the accuracy of their profiles.
This is why it is a good idea to check the verification policies on any site or app that you want to join. In fact, you can even send them an email asking exactly what they do to spot fake profiles. By getting as many details as possible, you can cut down on the risk of getting scammed.
Opting for more exclusive, paid dating sites may also help. These apps often make applicants go through a rather vigorous screening process. Therefore, the likelihood of finding a fraudulent individual on this level will go down quite a bit.
Still, it is always a good idea to be aware of any red flags. Also, you should never, ever send anyone money, particularly if you have never met them before. These are the top tech tips to pay attention to if you are trying to avoid getting scammed. As long as you remain on your toes, you should have a pleasant online dating experience.