Scam Happens

Girl being cautious on a Dating Site
"I have no faith in people anymore. here I am, one of the few chivalrous guys left, and now my line of thinking is, don't trust anyone, don't allow anyone to trust me."
read about real-life scams

Be Aware... Scam Happens! Dating Scam is something you hear about, but never think it could happen to you. Truth is…it CAN happen to you - unless you are Aware of the possibility and then Beware of the warning signs. There have always been Scammers – using phone, mail, email, the internet to reach new victims. Scam is big business – some people do it for a living. With online dating becoming more popular, dating sites provide a convenient place for scammers to operate. You can meet a scammer on ANY website...or anywhere...on or off-line – even at a group, club or bar.

The same vulnerability that makes us open to love and sharing may also cause us to let our guard down, and make us targets for scam and fraud. The scammer may be just a small time 'player' or they may be part of the $100 million illegal business that takes place worldwide each year. The scammer may break your heart, your wallet - or both. Nobody likes to be taken advantage of and people don't like to talk about being scammed - so the games go on. Lets get the word out, talk about the problem and expose these Scammers!

Help expose these people and keep them from using decent singles websites for illegal means.

Be Aware... Scam Happens! Have you been a victim of dating fraud or scam? Share your experience here and help keep others from being taken in by those who prey on innocent people who are looking for love. Help expose these people and keep them from using decent singles websites for illegal means. Make people aware of this problem and encourage others to use caution when communicating with online "strangers".

Post your story - Tell about your experience.

ConnectingSingles.com takes a hard line against scamming of any kind. We remove profiles immediately if we become aware of fraudulent activity.

We strongly encourage using caution when communicating online with people you do not know. Be safe and take time to get to know someone. Don’t be rushed to give personal information. Your onsite mailbox is a safety feature - Use It! If things happen too fast, or if it seems too good to be true – it is! It just doesn't make sense that two people fall head over heels in love in one or two weeks just by writing emails. Something is wrong there and red flags should be waving. Never send or receive money. Think first with your head – then with your heart.

Could this be a SCAM???

Can I trust anyone!?? A majority of people joining online dating sites and posting personal ads are real, honest and sincere. They are down to earth people who have a good life and are just looking for someone with whom to share time, fun and activities. Unfortunately a small number give an undeserved reputation to the rest and cause many of us to be very leery.

Scammers operate in predictable ways and are fairly obvious. You can prevent this from happening if you recognize the warning signs.

We don’t want you to be scared...we just want you to be aware. Awareness is the best prevention.
So, BE AWARE and BEWARE! Think about it!

BE AWARE

Profile of a Scammer:

  • Attractive photo, model photo
  • Talks about family or background, sob story may build slowly. (usually they are widowed or have lost family members)
  • Somewhat dissatisfied with their life
  • Wants change or relocate
  • Appears successful but refers to bad luck
  • Extremely charming, understanding in a non-picky way, attentive, flattering, falls for you quickly
  • Often writes to people out of age range, to those who have stated loneliness in their profile or recently widowed
  • Gives you a lot of personal information right away making you comfortable and willing to share your own personal info with them
  • Wants you to leave the site to use personal email or IM because "its so much easier" – may actually state they will not accept responses through the dating site.
  • Mail to you is often poetic, sing-songy, pretty words with no meaning, general flattery, generic, does not directly address questions or concerns you have voiced or remarks you have made, uses a lot of seductive or pet nicknames for you instead of your name

As things progress

A scammer may become familiar early-on with names of your friends or family. The scammer may even email or talk by phone to your relatives or friends and thereby enlist their support on their behalf. You may tell friends and family about this wonderful guy/gal you have met and you may be encouraged on by your friend who does so only because they see you happy for the first time for a long time.

A scammer may arrange to visit you and may send you cashier checks to hold for them. Or they may need money to complete their trip plans.

They may tell you of family illness or hard luck for which they need funds.

These people are extremely charming and believable. They have chosen you because you are caring, trusting, and generous.

Many Scenarios – Many Results

  • Multiple profiles entered with fake photos
  • Bogus cashier checks
  • Request for money for conditions that don’t exist
  • May actually result in you bringing them to your country, or marrying them
  • Being connected with over-priced travel arrangements or fraudulent agencies
  • Credit card fraud/ID theft
  • Broken finances – Broken hearts

Sounds serious. Is it hopeless to try to find someone honest?

No, internet dating can be done safely with good sense and caution. Scam can happen anywhere – even by someone you meet at a pub, club, bar or party. Be aware of the possibilities and be careful.

BEWARE
  • Beware of those who move too fast, who want to isolate you from those who may be a reality check or warn you.
  • However, time is not always a good test. Some scammers have many victims on the line at one time and so take a longer time courting each of them. This creates a false sense of security because they write to you for several months and appear to be “taking it slow”. More important is that they come on strong early-on, make you feel you have found the love of your life, lead you to believe this relationship is exclusive, and may encourage or insist you end your search and leave the dating sites and focus all your attention on them.
  • Remember... the person you communicate with may not be who or what they are presenting. For some, scamming may be a full time job – they have time to appear to focus ‘only on you’.
  • Start slow, watch out for those who seem ‘too good to be true’ (considerably older/younger, extremely wealthy, suave, or good looking, those who fall seriously for you in a very short time, those who appeal strongly to your need to take care of someone, etc),
  • Look for odd behavior or inconsistency, trust your instincts, and remember the person may not be who or what he/she says. If you feel uncomfortable - walk away - don't continue!
  • NEVER give or accept money for any reason. Do not share your credit card for their use.
  • Guard your anonymity, use the onsite email box only, never give personal info like name, address, phone, workplace, family info early on.
  • Don’t be too quick to welcome strangers into your family or put them in touch with your close friends and relatives. Keep them at arms length until you’re sure they are safe and trustworthy.
  • Stop communicating if anyone pressures you - they have no right!
  • See or request several photos. There is no legitimate excuse for not posting a photo if they really want to. Everyone has some kind of photo – even if it’s only a driver’s license photo. Photo stores or departments will put a photo on a CD, which can be uploaded on most computers or at the library. Connecting Singles accepts mailed or emailed photos, scans and adds them free.
  • Think about their photo! Do the photos look real, or could they be photos of a celebrity or model taken from a magazine or webpage?
  • If you talk on the phone, block your number from caller id, listen and learn about the person's personality, communication and social skills. Listen and see - separate their reality from what you "want" them to be.
  • Watch for red flags like falling in love with you within short amount of time, too much flattery, displays of anger, intense frustration, attempts at pressure or control, demeaning comments, inconsistent information or difference from online persona. Beware of hard luck stories, stories of sick relatives, requests for money, offers of loans, free cashiers checks, generic emails without your name or answers to your questions(scammers often use cut-and-paste long or poetic email messages that they send to many people - or if they do write you an original message it probably will be short and hurried). Think about it!
  • Take extra caution when communicating with members outside your area. Email pen pals are one thing, but ask yourself, why would someone seek a romantic partner from very far away? Yes, it’s romantic…but is it real? The scammer will tell you that distance is not an issue where love is concerned. But distance is a huge issue when getting to know someone. Not meeting face to face, the scammer can create a relationship in the mind of the victim that fits the victim's fantasy of perfect love... a relationship with an online stranger that isn't real.
  • If YOU decide to meet, drive your own car, go to a safe, well lit, well trafficked place, tell a friend where and when you will go and return, do not vary from that - or take a friend with you. If you are unsure or afraid on a date, excuse yourself for a moment, and then leave by other entrance. Don't be embarrassed, your safety is more important.

We don't want you to be scared - We only want you to be aware.

What can I do?

Start with your presentation in your online profile. Present a strong confident image of yourself in your profile. Don’t write narratives that may be misinterpreted to look as if you are needy, totally alone, have a pattern of being mistreated or taken advantage of in the past, will accept anyone who pays attention, or that you are helpless and just looking for someone to take care of you. Helpless, alone, nobody cares about me is like waving a red flag in front of a raging bull - or like holding a sign up for a scammer that says 'pick me'.

Before you post online, take some time to think about who you are, what you want, and what you will accept and are looking for in a mate. Finding a mate is one of life’s most important decisions... Think about it! You are a worthy person and deserve to be treated right. Set up boundaries for yourself and others about how you want to be treated. Your instincts will tell you when your boundaries are being crossed. Trust those instincts… and just say NO!

Balance your search for a mate with other positive activities in your life. Too much emphasis on "finding someone" is not healthy. You have to like yourself and ‘have a life’ of your own in order to attract a healthy relationship.

But even after all that... Scam happens!

What can you do if scam happens to you? First of all, be aware that it can happen to anyone. So give yourself a break. When we’re in love, we tend to think with our hearts – not with our heads. Don’t be embarrassed.

  • Report the experience to the website,
  • send a scammer report to their email provider,
  • report the case to legal authorities if there are serious fraud, threats, money involved or legal issues.

Connecting Singles has zero tolerance for scam and abuse; but we don't know about scams, solicitors or abuse until you tell us about them. We ask that you help us keep the site free of scammers and other abusive behavior. We will post reports of actual scam cases that you submit.

If you notice a profile of someone on our site who has been reported as a scammer on another site, please send us the URL to the exact page where this person is listed, in addition to his or her Connecting Singles username.

People get hurt not only financially but also emotionally. If you have been scammed and would like to use your experience to warn others about this problem, click the link below to tell your story and do your part to help prevent this from happening to someone who would otherwise be unaware...

Click here to post your story
Your privacy will be protected!

We appreciate your assistance!

Claire Beland
Connecting Singles Staff
© Copyright 2001-2012 Connecting Singles, Inc. All rights reserved



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