January and February are prime time for scammers and catfish to appear in the online dating world. Valentine's Day is a prime time for singles to search for love. As a site owner of FindYourPlusOne.com, increasing security and reducing the risk of clients being scammed is a top priority. Clients should always be cautious when communicating with new people online. Scam artists use an arsenal of emotional weaponry to prey on kind-hearted singles looking for love. These include attractive photos, sad stories, aliases, and sucker lists they share with fellow scammers.
“If you are looking for love, online dating services are a great option but be sure to take precautions to protect yourself,” says Theresa Williams, CEO of Atwood Technology. “First, ensure that the dating services you choose have the proper security mechanisms in place before you sign up and possibly expose your personal information. Scammers and hackers are very smart and believable!”
To protect yourself, ensure your dating service provider uses email verification and encrypted passwords, doesn’t email your passwords to your email account, and has a secure socket payment connection. Because many free sites don’t have the financial resources, they may not be able to implement appropriate security measures, and therefore are prime targets for scammers. So, select your online dating service provider carefully.
You can also protect yourself by recognizing common scammer behavior:
- Some scammers pretend to be military personnel deployed overseas.
- Scammers quickly try to get you off the dating site as soon as possible because they know these sites monitor their behavior and they don’t want to leave a trace.
- Scammers are more highly concentrated in countries such as Russia, Nigeria, and other countries in West Africa.
- Scammers look for shipment mules. Always be wary of someone who wants you to forward a shipment overseas. The parcel could be stolen and you could then become liable.
- Scammers love wire transfers. They may ask you to send them money because they feel they’ve hit on hard times or need a plane ticket to come see you.
If you suspect you or someone you know has been a victim of online dating scams or you want to know more about the topic, here are some sites that could help you: