How to protect yourself from online dating scams

Alternatively they may prey on your sympathies, telling you a family member or someone else they are responsible for is ill and they need money for medical treatment.

Once you send them money, the fraudsters will keep coming back and invent new reasons to send them more.

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Scammers typically create fake online profiles designed to lure you in, either using a fictional name or falsely adopting the identities of real people.

Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and usually suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging.

"Scammers are good for short-term business because they boost activity," he says, "but the site's reputation suffers, so new sites have to go through this learning curve." Petition online dating sites to help stop scammers.

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Identity theft is no laughing matter — prevention involves knowing what measures to take and putting those measures into action.

Although some of these scams are certainly predictable, others are less so (especially the third and fourth scams).

Naturally, we offer tips to help you protect yourself from these online dating scams.

She signed up with online-dating service Mate1and created a profile stating she was looking for “a good friend, companion and soulmate.” Here’s what Martin didn’t realize: By signing up to meet her “soulmate,” she added her personal information to the kind of database increasingly used by domestic and international con artists.

Internet-dating sites provide easy pickings for these scammers.

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