Well it’s true, right?
I hear that all the time. Well, not all the time, but often enough that it seems like all the time. For years, people, mostly women, have been telling me how terrible online dating is. They tell me that there’s nothing but scammers online.
Well then, that must make me a scammer because I’m online!
In the past several months though, I’ve talked to women about online dating and they’ve said they’ve had nothing but good experiences overall. Then I started to ask myself “What makes the difference in their experience vs. those that have had “nothing but bad experiences?”
I think there are three major segments of problems.
1 – It’s the way your profile is written. If you come across as lonely and needy you become an easy target.
2 – You don’t read profiles well. It’s your responsibility to read a potential suiter’s profile. Just because they send you a message and say nice things to you doesn’t mean you need to answer until you’ve thoroughly read their profile.
3 – You don’t take responsibility to do your due diligence. You assume that everyone should be honest just like you. Reality check! Don’t expect everyone to have the same values as you and treat you the way you treat others.
Here’s the thing. I’ve never met anyone that said, “It was my fault I got scammed.” No, it’s just the opposite. It’s always the scammer’s fault.
Here’s a truth bomb for you. You’re going to continue to get scammed until you learn to recognize their tricks, stop being so damn needy, and stop being gullible.
I know this is going to be really hard for some of you to understand and accept. But, sometimes you need to get slapped in the face with the truth. Remember, you’re the common denominator in all your dating and relationship problems!
It’s your responsibility to be smart about dating whether it’s online or in person. Get as much information as you can from the person you’re interested in. Get their middle name. Get their birth date. Tell them you plan to do a background check and expect them to do the same.
The simple act of telling someone that you plan on doing a background check will eliminate most of the potential scammers. You’ll probably get some really hardcore scammers that will try to talk or guilt you out of it but stand your ground.
This is your love life. These are your emotions. Don’t let someone hijack them and take advantage of you with crafty and witty lines. Always be asking questions. The minute their story changes or doesn’t add up, it’s time to walk away.
Recently I struck up a conversation with a woman online. She seemed pretty legitimate and asked some very good questions about long-distance dating. After a few messages back and forth, she suggested moving to personal email.
I agreed and we exchanged personal email addresses. Her first email to me was linked to a different name than on her profile (red flag #1). She then explained that she was not actually divorced for financial reasons (red flag #2). She said she and her husband had been living in Australia when she decided to leave him to move back to the US (red flag #3). She explained how money was tight and she finally got a good job and was going to be financially stable in the next year or so (red flag #4). She signed her email with yet a third name (red flag #5).
I quickly responded and said I was out because of too many red flags. I also reported her to the dating site for further review and blocked her from contacting me again. Could her story have been legitimate? Sure. Was I going to take a chance? Not on your life!
Don’t get sucked into falling in love with a profile. They’re only words and pictures on a page. You’d have a better chance of dating success by falling in love with a romance novel.
Don’t just blindly fall for everyone that pays a little attention to you. Do your due diligence. Be smart about it so you can avoid the horror stories we all here about.
Here are some FBI suggestions for being vigilant when dating online.
The following tips may be helpful to consider if you develop a romantic relationship with someone you meet online:
* Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere.
* Go slow and ask a lot of questions.
* Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or Facebook to go “offline.”
* Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
* Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.
* Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally.
If you believe you are a victim of a romance scam, file a complaint online with the FBI at ic3.gov.
I hope this information will help you step out of your comfort zone and help you be more proactive in your dating life.
Join me next week for “Do you feel obligated to say yes to a date you don’t want?”