It is possible for you to find true and lasting love online. However, in the article "Online Dating Scams: What is Catfishing?" Paula Fleming of the Better Business Bureau advises that you be wary of whirlwind romances that move too fast too soon and online-only partners who ask you to send cash after only a short time has passed. There are several warning signs to watch out for which are prevalent in online scams.
Discrepancies in the dating profile of your contact should be a major warning sign. According to the article "How To Tell If You Are Being Baited by a Catfish" on the website for Dr. Phil McGraw, if the height-weight combination does not match, the contact claims to be from the Unites States even though the profile indicates another country, or -- after having done an Internet search -- you find that bits and pieces of this profile were copied from other dating sites, then there is a serious possibility your online interest is running a scam.
Copied Profile Picture
Before you establish a relationship, it is important to know what your interest looks like. However, a scammer often does not reveal true identity. If you find that the profile picture is available on several other sites, such as modeling agency pages or social profiles for another individual, then you should be wary. Google is one of many websites that allows users to search by image.
Reluctant to Disclose Information
A dating scammer will probe you with questions to get to know you; however, this will be mainly a one-sided affair. You will find that you are getting far less information about your contact. This individual may come up with any number of reasons why the focus should be on you, such as that he or she has been hurt in the past and wants to know you better before giving away personal details.
Avoids Face-to-Face Contact
You may find that your contact always makes excuses why you cannot have face time together, whether through Skype, Gmail Chat or any of the multiple choices of video communication readily available today. Plans to meet in person may always be cancelled for one reason or another.
Lures You Away From Dating Site
A common practice among scammers is to derail their prey from contacting them through the online dating site. The attempt to contact you personally through emails, other messaging services or phone calls usually occurs in the early stages of interaction.
Hits You Up for Cash
Be very cautious of any online contact who requests that you send money. According to the post "Dating and Romance Scams" from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's website Scamwatch, some of the more common reasons scammers will cite when asking for cash include car repairs, a personal sickness or the medical bills for a relative, travel expenses related to visiting you or transfer fees needed to send you a particular amount of cash.