How to spot a cruel dating site scammer?
Finding love in the age of digital dating can be expensive in several ways. An estimated 323 million people worldwide are currently using dating apps to find love, friendship or even just a casual fling.
However, not only do many sites have expensive subscription fees, but online dating also carries the risk of ‘romance fraud’, where fraudsters use fake profiles to trick other users.
So it really pays to do your research before signing up to any dating site. Always read reviews on Trustpilot and elsewhere to ensure a site’s reputation, but also be aware that disgruntled users who have been terminated for bad behavior may be behind bad reviews.
If there are red flags, like lots of complaints or fraud reports, it’s best to stay away.
The most popular free dating apps are Hinge, Bumble, Tinder, and OkCupid.
According to friends, Hinge, Bumble and OkCupid are more for long-term relationships, while Tinder is a place for casual flings.
Although they are all free, keep in mind that you need to subscribe to the update to promote your photos or to give more likes to potential matches.
There are also subscription dating sites that offer a free version to try, such as Plenty of Fish, while others, such as Match, allow you to see who’s there first and then charge you to message anyone or narrow down your search. a particular characteristic.
Meanwhile, SilverSingles and EliteSingles, which target educated types over 40, have a free version but charge to message someone.
If you do decide to continue after the free trial, the subscription plan is often cheaper than paying as you go.
On Match, for example, a six-month subscription costs £9.99 a month, while paying monthly costs £29.99, a saving of £120 over six months.
Whichever site you try, go in with an open mind. 21 per cent of dating site users say they’ve been asked for money, while Action Fraud believes fraudsters steal £95 million a year, with most going unreported out of shame.
According to the Nationwide Building Society, on average people lose more than £10,000 to romance scams, so it’s no wonder a third of Brits feel dating apps and websites don’t do enough to vet users.
READ MORE: Rich Forever? Meet the new generation of gold diggers who never pay for a meal and manipulate dating app algorithms to get rich
For your own protection, don’t be too quick to start chatting or texting over social media until you’re sure the person you’re talking to is a real user; and never give money or gifts to anyone you met on a dating site.
Likewise, don’t click on the chatter’s links or downloads, and don’t enter personal information like your address or date of birth.
Don’t send exclusive photos either, because they can be used for blackmail.
If you agree to meet someone, do it in a public place and make sure your friends or family know where you’re going.
If you think someone is using a fake photo that may have come from an image gallery, you can try a “reverse google image search” to identify the source of the photo.
Go to images.google.com, click the camera icon, and drag the photo you want to check into the search box.
When it comes to dating, the old saying “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” really applies!
Some of the key scams involve scammers flattering you into thinking they adore you, then pretending to wait for a large sum of money to arrive, or asking if you can send a loan for a major medical procedure or something equally emotional . .
An alternative way to meet like-minded people is through local events that bring people together. Eventbrite.com lists all kinds of gatherings. Meetup.com also has details of events in the area, from cooking classes to photography.
Meanwhile, volunteering is a great way to make friends and get more involved in your local community if you’re feeling lonely. Reachvolunteering.org.uk and Do-it.org offer opportunities from one-day volunteering to annual programmes.
A walking or running club is a great place to find an active partner and keep fit.
If that doesn’t work, ask a friend to play Cupid and create a profile for you on Mysinglefriend.com.
It’s £13 a month and your friend will have a blast checking out potential suitors and seeing your matches.