With over 1,500 sites devoted to dating, the Internet is ripe for romance — and rip-offs. How do you avoid opening your heart — and your wallet — to a prince (or princess) too charming to be true? Start by taking these precautions. Here’s how to protect yourself online to avoid being scammed.
1.Don’t pursue a long-distance relationship with a stranger online;
“Staying local drastically reduces your odds of being scammed, since most scammers target victims outside their areas to avoid being caught or prosecuted,” notes Canadian journalist Risha Gotlieb.
until you meet face-to-face and develop a level of trust. While it’s tempting to share every detail of your life with a person think you could be in love with, that’s exactly what the scammer is counting on.
3.Use search engines to check out suitors:
When Bernstein met someone online who seemed too good to be true, she cut and pasted one of his e-mails into Google. Lo and behold, the exact words popped up on several websites devoted to romance scams.
Take it as a red flag when someone you’ve recently met on a dating site wants to leave the site’s chat feature in favor of another messaging platform. Scammers phish for victims anywhere they can. But for ease, they prefer to keep their communications all in one place. Scammers like to use apps such as WhatsApp, Kik or Viber.
5.Check their photos.
Use the free Google Image Search to see where else the photos have appeared. Click on the camera icon in the search box and then drag in or upload a picture. Google will show you where that image has been posted online. You can see if it was used by someone with a different name or if it has been reported to a scam list.