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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.They might even set up a time to meet and then say they were held up by something else. Some scammers will use similar excuses for avoiding phone conversations, though many will talk to you on the phone before reeling you in for the scam. If the person you’re talking to is who they say they are, they almost certainly will not ask you for money or financial details. ” is not a question that a sincere person is likely to ask on a first date.Of course, some people are just shy or are nervous about meeting people that they’ve met online—this isn’t anything out of the ordinary (it’s also possible that they’re trying to avoid getting caught by a spouse The Ashley Madison dating site was recently hacked by hackers who threatened to leak the entire database unless the site closed. Asking for any other financial information—where you bank, anything about your credit cards, how much you have in savings—should be a big warning sign.They’ll hit you with the full force of their charm; they’ll say sweet things, compliment you a lot, and talk about how perfect you are for each other within the first couple weeks.Think about if you would find it strange for someone to be acting like this if you just met in real life.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.

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However this is a far more serious issue than has been portrayed in the press, with considerable implications for user safety., so sharing any sensitive information might be a bad idea anyway. That’s almost a sure sign that you’re talking to a scammer.

While the British scammer mentioned in the introduction to this article met his victims in person, most scammers will avoid face-to-face meetings at all costs.

Even if they say they live near you, they’ll say they’re out of town and won’t be able to meet. However, repeated excuses at the last minute are a definite warning sign.

Many scammers will be prepared to answer these and even more complicated questions, but if you can’t get answers from a suitor, you should be suspicious.

While there are online dating scammers from all over the world, a significant number of them come from non-English-first-language countries, which means that sometimes there will be communicative markers that indicate your suitor isn’t who they say they are.

The profiles of online dating scammers can exhibit some clear signs that something is off—you just need to know what to look for.

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