Is Your Online Romance a Scam?

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Lockdown hasn’t been a great time for love. The kibosh on meetups has impeded many new romances from blossoming and made people more keen than ever to interact as they struggle to combat loneliness.

Dating apps like Tinder have still done a roaring trade though. As people could not meet in person, romances began to bloom online via chat and messaging.

There have always been strong warnings regarding online dating – don’t share your home address, meet in a public place, all the classic rules.

But removing in-person meetups from the equation has lulled some into a false sense of security and with loneliness to stir the pot, defences have been lowered and more people have been scammed than ever.

You might think you’re immune – too smart, too streetwise or too experienced. But the fact is that scammers are good at what they do…very good at what they do. Rather like an old-fashioned confidence trickster, a skilled con man or woman can see what it is that their target needs in their life – and seem to offer it up on a plate.

Here are some red flags to watch out for.

Your new online lover adores all the same things you do – is it possible you might just have too much in common? Tricksters will fit in with what they think you want to hear. So your profile says you love a certain author, surprise surprise! So do they! They’ll look on your Facebook pages too, find out your favourite bands, actors, sitcoms…and they’ll “love” them too.

They’re never available for live chat – so they’re busy right? Nope! If you’ve talked a tonne but never actually seen them on Zoom, be very careful. They may be masquerading behind someone else’s photograph.

They need to borrow a small amount of money – you could just Venmo that right? It’s only for a day or two? NO! Never, ever send any money to a potential date. Many scammers will ask for a small amount of money, often with an elaborate story as to why they need it. They’re just testing the waters to see how much you will give them.

You’re not sure where they work – why’s that then? Well, basically because they don’t or if they do, they don’t want you to know where because they’re using a fake name. They’ll be evasive with their answers if you ask them directly. They might say something like, “I work for a private firm.” Or “I’m an entrepreneur.” But here’s the facts. If you can’t Google your potential partner and find them online somewhere, then that’s a massive red flag. Everyone has some digital footprint these days.

Don’t feel bad if you have a brush with a scammer though. Just make sure that you’re careful in future! Don’t give away too much of yourself in those early days.

Stay alert and at the first sign of something fishy, end the chat. Tinder is one of those sites which can leave people open to abuse if they’re inexperienced so take heed.

Perhaps Sean Rad and Justin Mateen should have been more careful when they got into trouble for their treatment of fellow co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd?

Wolfe Herd had been dating Mateen during their time at Tinder and when the pair split, Mateen turned nasty.

So what does then CEO Sean Rad do? Does he listen to Wolfe Herd when she tells him about Mateen’s abusive messages and his calling her a “whore” at a work event? Does he speak to Mateen and tell him this behaviour won’t be allowed?

No.

He calls Wolfe Herd “dramatic” and ignores her complaints. This is the CEO of TINDER people!

At the time, Rad was riding high on an upwards trajectory but it all came crashing down when Wolfe Herd filed a suit which was settled out of court.

Rad’s reputation didn’t recover and he went on to make some laughable PR errors in the years that followed.

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