While many people successfully meet a legitimate love interest on the Internet, others fall victim to scammers when they venture into the online dating world. If you've started communicating with someone for whom you have romantic feelings, take the time to ask yourself several questions before you get carried away. It's crucial that you determine whether this person has a real interest in you or is simply running a scam that can ruin you emotionally and financially.
Oftentimes, when foreign Internet scammers try to portray themselves as Americans, they trip up when corresponding in English. Take note of phrasing or words that sound offbeat or odd. As an American, you are familiar with how Americans typically speak. If something seems off with your correspondent's wording, chances are you are talking to an Internet scammer located in another country.
Alarm bells should go off when you receive only professional portraits instead of casual photos taken by family and friends. Internet scammers often lift professional photographs of models and other good-looking individuals from other websites to entice you into a relationship with them. Ask your love interest to send a photo of himself holding up a sign with your name on it or posing with a newspaper that shows the current date. You have every right to know what the person you're talking to actually looks like.
Most people prefer to show themselves in the best possible light when getting to know a new love interest. If the person you're talking to has repeatedly told you about the terrible events they've experienced during their lifetime, take heed. Many scammers make up unbelievable tales of the hardships they've encountered during their life to engage your sympathy. While anyone may have experienced a death, divorce or job loss, most people haven't had multiple, devastating tragedies one after another. Even if they have, they're not likely to share them with a stranger early in the relationship.
The moment an online love asks you to send money or to cash checks or money orders for them, end the relationship immediately. No matter what story they tell you, there's never a good reason to send money to someone you've never met. Protect your assets and your savings and checking accounts and never be lured into sending money. You are not an ATM. You have no way to know whether or not what they tell you is true and you have no obligation to bail them out financially.
If you find yourself amazed at how quickly an online lover has fallen for you, take heed. Did they start professing their love within the first few conversations? Did they make stunning declarations of undying love before they've had time to really get to know you? When an Internet paramour gets too intense too quickly, back off your communication with them and see how they respond. If they try to make you feel guilty for wanting to take things more slowly, run for the hills.
While it's only natural to long for love, don't let that desire cause you to be taken advantage of. Although it may be hard to believe that you're a target of an online love scam, numerous people find themselves in this position every day. Realize that the person you're talking to isn't really who they say they are and that they have an ulterior motive. End all contact and move on in the hope of meeting your true love whether it's online or in person.