The profiles of online dating scammers can exhibit some clear signs that something is off—you just need to know what to look for.Most scammers choose victims that are older than they are, for example, so if someone who is significantly younger than you says that they’re interested, it could be cause for concern.
Here are six things to keep in mind to help you spot and avoid scammers on online dating sites.
Anyone can be the target and victim of these scams—men, women, young, old, gay, straight, white, black, Asian, Hispanic… But the FBI states that women who are “over 40, divorced, widowed, and/or disabled” are prime targets for scammers.
Again, both men and women can and have fallen victim to online dating scammers, but women tend to be targeted more aggressively.
Interestingly, the AARP says that men fall victim to these scams more often, but that women are more likely to report the scam.
In August, a British man was sent to jail after defrauding two women of over £300,000 (5,300) through online dating sites.
He had convinced them that he was a diplomat and that a US marine general had fallen in love with them, causing one woman to pawn jewelry, empty her life savings, sell her car, and take out loans to help this general move to the UK. In 2011, the Internet Crime Complaint Center estimated that the online dating scamming “industry” was worth over million, but it’s likely much higher than that, due to the difficulty of making a good estimate.
(Not that they always do, of course, but there’s more of an expectation of it.) But a really big part of it is the reality that most women doing online dating quickly learn that if they send polite rejections to men who contact them, they’ll receive an enormous number of hostile and even abusive responses.
And you can’t always tell who those are going to come from!
Employers are expected to close the loop when someone sends them business correspondence, which is what a job application is.
With online dating, there’s more of a cultural norm (among most people, at least) that if you’re not interested, there’s no need to respond to say that; it’s okay to just delete the message.
You might think it would be more likely with the dudes whose initial messages are already a little sketchy, but it’s not uncommon to also receive abusive responses to rejection from the guy whose first message was polite, unassuming and/or charming.