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How to Know When You Are Being Scammed – Part One

Scam artists are everywhere nowadays. And while everyone is at risk, seniors can be a major target.  It seems that you only need to pick up the newspaper or watch the news to hear about the latest financial scam and it’s something that has become an unwelcome part of modern life.

AX077603 234x300 How to Know When You Are Being Scammed   Part OneSo what does this have to do with a dating site you ask?

Unfortunately, the anonymity of the internet makes it a perfect place for con artists to hide their real intentions while trying to entrap their victims under the guise of romantic interest.

Don’t get me wrong, the vast majority of members of reputable dating sites (both paid and free) are legitimately looking for a sincere match, but there are red flags that you should look out for when embarking on the journey of online dating for the first time. By-the-way these rules apply to anyone of any age!

Red Flag #1

If someone is too interested – too quickly – in getting to know you beyond the safety of your computer, this could indicate a problem. If you have just met someone online and they are trying to encourage a meet-up before you really know them, they may not just be overly eager.

Let your relationship take a slow and steady natural course of events and let your gut decide when it is right to call them.  I would suggest no less than a month of chatting online before calling them – but this should only happen when you feel totally comfortable doing so.

Remember that when you give out your number, unless it is an unlisted number, you are giving out your address as well. People can easily do a reverse look-up on a phone number and see where you live. Whether their purpose is dangerous or just desperate, you want to steer clear of both of these.

Red Flag #2

When you do finally decide to meet up, decide on a neutral and safe location (a restaurant or a café) and have a friend or family member bring you and let them meet your date.  If you cannot arrange this, make sure you tell someone close to you about your plans. Include the name of the person you are meeting, where you are meeting them and when you expect to be home.  Write down any personal information that you have on your date also – like an address or cell phone number, and the dating site you met them on – and give it to your friend or family member.

Then tell your date that you are doing this.  Blame it on your overly protective friend or family if you feel awkward about it.  If your date has any issue with this and gets angry or cancels your plans at the last minute then this is a huge indicator that they may not be legitimate.  If they don’t respect your need to be cautious, then move on.

Red Flag #3

If anyone wants you to give them any personal information be extremely guarded. Never give out banking information, details of how much your stock portfolio is worth, or the value of your home.  And NEVER give money if it is asked for – even if they seem like a genuine person.  Scam artists are exceptionally good at seeming like really nice people who just happen to need a few hundred dollars for some emergency!

That’s all for now.  Next week, I’ll talk about a few other things to be wary of, but the important thing to remember is that the overwhelming majority of people that you’ll encounter are there for the same reasons as you!


22 Responses to “How to Know When You Are Being Scammed – Part One”

  1.  Jeanie Farish says:

    I recently dodged a scam from a man I hadn’t even met. Almost from the beginning, his emails were of the “you are my true love” type, which became a red flag later. He went to a foreign country for a huge building contract (I doubt it) and ran into difficulty with this underdeveloped nation’s government which demanded $3,800 or he would be shut down and could I please send him the money? My response was “I can’t imagine that you would be impressed with a woman who would send money to a man she has never met.” He didn’t contact me after that!

    Posted on 26-Jul-10 at 9:18 pm | Permalink
  2.  linda schafer says:

    I recently got emailed from Latinopeoplemeet.com from a man who made me one of his favorites. Oh his pic was very nice, handsome and younger than me – what a boost for the ego. Anyway he mentioned he had a 10 yr old daughter, Jennifer, of course he was instantly in love with me and wanted to meet me, then all of a sufdden he had gotten a contract to go to Nigeria. That’s when I knew he was a scam artist. If they ever send you a so called copy of a contract or even better yet a check for an unbelievable amount they are a scam. Finally he asked for money and I told him I was going to report him to the site and the police. That was the end of him – I blocked him. Good luck wth dating, just be aware.

    Posted on 23-Oct-10 at 12:09 pm | Permalink
  3.  Lee says:

    Sorry all, but I feel they are ALL SCAMS. Female and male alike on these things are out to steal your money not your heart. I have leaned to accept being alone and just worry about my cats and the next day. If it happens, it will happen. Save your money and what is left of your heart!

    Posted on 10-Sep-11 at 1:18 am | Permalink
  4.  Rhonda Starboard says:

    I have been getting and sending e-mails for over a month now to a man who claims hes in the Army in Afghanistan and he writes beautiful undying love letters we chat on facebook also on yahoo messenger . He is now telling me that he was given gold and money for helping out a Afghan communtiy for helping them get away from taliban, he says his friend in the Uk will get a hold of me I gave him my address he wants to send me this gold and money to safe keep for him but has never asked me for money? He always signs his name the same in his e-mails but today I received one from him signed a different name? Do you think this is a scam? I also had a guy a long time ago from in Nigerea who had a daugther he said was sick and needed money to get hom. I blocked him. But the one now never asks for money?

    Posted on 24-Aug-12 at 11:24 pm | Permalink
  5.  Fran says:

    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. I don’t think every person looking for someone on the internet is out to steal from you.

    However, I think an intelligent person needs to read between the lines of the other person’s profile to see if anything “throws up a red flag”.

    This would include replies from someone with little info in their profile that says nothing specifically related to your profile. I also steer clear of folks that immediately want to go off the dating site to your personal email addy or phone number. Most often this is because they don’t want to pay for premium membership.

    If a person claims multiple degrees and decent income but their profile/email is full of typos/misspellings or their speech on the phone is full of grammatical errors and mispronunciations…I doubt their educational/professional background is what they say it is.

    In short…be very skeptical of whatever you read or hear until your receive proof that you can trust the person!

    Posted on 28-Aug-12 at 8:09 pm | Permalink
  6.  Kathy Damer says:

    Rhonda, there are some red flags with this situation. The idea of having to keep money and gold safe for someone that you just met is a concern. Think about it – that is something you might only ask of someone that you have known and trusted for a long time, not someone halfway across the globe that you recently met online. Signing the email with a different name is concerning too. Keep your guard up, be cautious and trust your gut. If it feels wrong, it usually is.

    Posted on 19-Nov-12 at 7:07 pm | Permalink
  7.  Elsa Ocanto says:

    I am in match.com unfortunately i was scamed for a person only for few days, I realized that something fishing because the way he wrote to me….I wrote to match.com and they never sent my any explication why this person was in their site, I am using match. for long 3 years and now I know that they protect more men than women, I am still with them because my suscription will be over next months.. I will like to check your site and get any idea how it works, and browers members..
    Thanks you

    Elsa Ocanto.

    Posted on 22-Dec-12 at 1:32 pm | Permalink
  8.  Thomas says:

    Rhonda, your post screams of SCAM. Cut this guy off if you haven’t already done so. I am currently reading a novel, based on fact, about this kind of scam. Both the book and the scam are titled “419″. You can read about it on Wikipedia here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigerian_scam.

    Cut this guy – and anyone else like him – off and report him to the site and the police. I hope I don’t sound too histrionic when I tell you that, if you continue with this creep, incredible though it may sound, you are putting yourself in a position to lose EVERYTHING you own. If you doubt that, do some research on 419. You can start by watching a 20-minute movie here: http://www.419thenigerianscam.com/site/

    And after you watch the movie, please forward the link to everyone on all your mailing lists. It just might save someone’s life’s savings. Education is the only protection we have against these people.

    I hope this provides value to you and everyone else who reads it.

    Posted on 30-Dec-12 at 10:40 am | Permalink
  9.  Michelle says:

    I agree I think They All scam. I met a guy online he fell in love very quickly he sent lovely emails, we spoke over the phone daily. One day I recieved a call from him he was having to go to malaysia there was a settlement from a deceased love one, but could not leave the country until the taxes were paid. Then he asked me for money to help out and he would give it back once he come to the states. Also, we were going to meet before he asked for money, but day he was to catch his flight he was held up at airport and his passport was taken. We still communicate daily by phone, but no more emails he claim he was put out of his hotel so he sleeps outside. The guy still ask for money, but I just ignore him or sometimes I tell him ok I will send it, but do not this been going on for three months now. A trip that was to only be for seven days has end up to be almost two months. When I ask about his job, home here in the states he sometimes get angry, snd he sometimes go from hot to cold in a matterer of hours. Example, we can laugh and talk on the phone very earlin the morning and by evening he seems to be very cold when we talk. During the cold times he says I do not love him, because I will not wire him the money. I guess we will eventually stop communicating one day I wonder which one of us will get tired and say good bye forever! But since I met another scammer online that had To fly to Turkey to work on a Project for his job, but I was able to stop him very quickly of course he loved & missed me after three dayof meeting online. I tuened The page on him I asked him to wire me money. Smile!! I have not heard from him since!
    My imput is turn the script talk their talk come up with your crisis first that need money. Also, tell them to send it western union money gram, or green dot prepaid visa or mastercard from CVS or Walgreen i am sure those stores or In their country I guess? They will not call you again.

    Posted on 03-Jan-13 at 5:41 am | Permalink
  10.  Email pen pals...one day this man sent me an e.ail ..who wants to marry a millionaire...so we started emailing each other..then he says his wife and daughter wre killed in a car accident three years ago and now he is ready to marry again..now he says he w says:

    Found a pop up that said….would you like to marry a millionair..so i clicked on it…a couple days later..i got an email that said ..he was from england owned his own constrution business…he has two kids son and daughter ..three years ago his wife and daughte was killed in an auto accident..and now it is time for him to marry again…and he said the first respomnce to his email he would be beholden to and marry…his next email he said he was waiting to her from a bid on a contract in africa and new zealand for 13 million dollars….then he emailed me and said the bid was excepted for the job in africa and that he would transfer 380,000,00 us dollars to my account in my country…he gave me the phone number and address of the royal bank of scotland and the chief a9countants name and number and he gave me his account numberhe wrote me a letter to this bank and said copy this letter and email it to the bank..they will know who you are because :already wrote to the bank himself..i did this and got a resp+nce..the gental man said i wo_ee to give my a9ount number and and 5,600 dollars for transfer fee…he did give me his phone number and i did call h- but it was celphone to cell p:ne and the signal was terrible..he will call me…..i told him i would not give my account number or send cash..he said send w:at ever i had westetern union and he would get the rest…..my thingis its only been about ten email between us he still wants me tosend money..does nott matter how much..just send. His words are heartfelt and sweat an5 he sounds very itelligent am i being scammed or is this for real.. -

    Posted on 12-Jan-13 at 11:19 pm | Permalink
  11.  ywilson says:

    I met this guy online and at first he lived in Chicago but then had to leave for Washington to bid on a contract job for cheveron. It’s has been almost a year that we have been chatting through yahoo messenger and I talked to him over the phone three times while he was in Washington. And while there he ran into problem with the contract, he was granted the contract but he didn’t pay his taxes so if he didn’t pay by a certain time they would give the contract to the next highest bidder so I did it. So he was suppose to come and meet me but all of a sudden he had to go to Lagos, Nigeria to get the job started. Then all of a sudden he needed money for something else. So now he was involved in a car accident trying to get to the airport and got hurt and they took his passport at the hospital because he couldn’t pay 3,000.00 and until he pay it he can’t get his passport to come home.

    Posted on 26-Jan-13 at 8:35 pm | Permalink
  12.  C Butcher says:

    My ex is currently being scammed by a pro. They met on line they went on 3 dates then he took her to the coast. She sent him a card telling him she loved him. I knew then something was up. She barely sees him as she lives out of town. She has gone a month with out being with him but calls him daily and texts him. He is paying her bills now after 4 months of dating. Has repaired her car and lent him his for 3 weeks. He has been in the hospital and had surgery but each time she has not been there. The only holiday she has been with him was on New Years Eve. She spends one to two nights with him a month and has to get drunk when she is with him (I’ve seen the empty bottles) He has only been to her house twice and has only met her son. She has a sight on facebook but does not claim she is in a relationship or even have a photo of them together. She would not even be with him on her birthday. How do I let him know what is going on and that he is not the only one.

    Posted on 27-Jan-13 at 12:04 pm | Permalink
  13.  renee cramer says:

    meant a guy on zoosk very good looking exchanges emails and phone calls said he was in the gemstone business,then get a call one day said he was in dubia and said he being held needed 3,000 told him i couldnt help him never heard from him again.same thing on another site this time a guy in the service exchange emails again this time his picture messages every thing dissappeared . someone decent comes along then you cant trust them it sucks

    Posted on 11-Feb-13 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
  14.  Bonnie says:

    A man on FB contacted me, wanted to be my “friend”. If I don’t know someone, I send him/her a message and find out about that person first especially if it’s a man because sometimes it’s a young single guy looking for a young single girl. I always let them know I am married and my age which this year I will be 65. This one man claimed to be 45 wrote me back and said he liked what I wrote and immediately started talking about loving me and calling me “babe” and his “angel” and I kept explaining that I was married and how old I was and I had health problems etc, etc. He said age was just a number. Well we just continued to “talk” and then we started “chatting” on yahoo IM. Then he told me he wasn’t happy, that the hotel manager was after him for money that he didn’t have. He said he was building contractor in Lagos, West Africa, buiiding a private school and the owner agreed to pay him 1/2 of the money and he had run out. He asked me to send him some money to cover the cost of the hotel $750. I told him I didn’t have that kind of money and I don’t. I was telling him the truth. My husband still works like a dog, we still have a house payment and my disability check only goes so far. He got very angry at first. He said any amount would do. First, there’s no way I could wire money to West Africa without my husband knowing – don’t think he would be to happy, so I told this young man a thing or two and told him not to contact me any longer if money was all he wanted. He cont

    Posted on 05-Jun-13 at 12:51 pm | Permalink
  15.  Bonnie says:

    I wasn’t finished with my story, he continued to contactn me and then told me that somebody was going to give him a check and would put it in my name and would I cash it for him. I said I would do what I could. He wanted my address and phone number. I gave him this since this was something he could pretty much get off of Facebook anyway. A week and a half as gone by, and early this morning after a week of vowing more of undying love and me falling for this and beginning to feel like a gitty teenager (an old fool) he tells me that the man can’t give him a check that he has a sick child in the hospital and can I give him some money when I get my disability check – $150. At first I told him, I would see what I could do after I paid some bills, but then he asked for names of some of my single friends. When I asked why he wanted to know he wouldn’t say, he just said I was his angel babe, he wanted to marry me etc, etc. He has said this building job is supposed to be done in August and he is coming back to the states. He claims to be from Albany, Ga. but wants to come here where I am so he can meet me. Being the old fool that I am, I was trying to figure out a way so we could meet but when he asked for names of single friends this morning it was as though God slapped me upside my head and told me to stop this foolishnish. So I have sent him a message and told him not to contact me any longer and I have explained why. If he continues what should I do? Should I just block him or should I call the FBI and alert them or just FaceBook or who? Thanks for any help.

    Posted on 05-Jun-13 at 1:05 pm | Permalink
  16.  Patricia says:

    I recently starting talking to someone through ourtime.com,we exchanged phone numbers and were texting back and forth. He then sent me a text through a different phone saying he had a business trip in Texas. We were texting for a few weeks and don’t know why but when he asked me for my address I gave it to him. DUMB. He said he wanted to send me something. Then the next day he asked me to pay his lawyer 600.00 to secure his transfer from the US to Canada. RED FLAG finally, I said no and let him know that my son who is a police officer was going to check it out. He stated good idea, go ahead and run a background check. Last time I heard from him. I just can’t believe I could be so stupid to fall for his lines of crap.

    Posted on 22-Jan-14 at 5:26 am | Permalink
  17.  Glenda says:

    I met a man on Ourtime.com who lives in Iowa. He contacted me. At first I wasn’t interested because he lived so far away, but he said if we became serious he would relocate. He was looking for someone to move in with and share half the expenses. He wanted to just be a boarder. He said he made reservations to fly where I live to meet me and I told him he had to stay in a hotel. He immediately cancelled his flight. He did that twice. He got mad and cancelled his flight. He never asked me for money but he was looking for a free ride. My grand daughter was getting married and he wanted to go to the wedding with me. I think he wanted to see what my family had, and if they had money. There was many red flags. Every time he was suppose to come and visit me, something always happened that he couldn’t come. He was looking for sex, because when I told him he couldn’t stay at my house, he got mad and made up excuses why he couldn’t come. And, some of the excuses were off the wall. I ended it with him when he said he wanted to go on a cruise with me and I had to pay half of everything. He didn’t ask me for money, but I think eventually he would have. Please be careful out there. There are all kinds of scammers.

    Posted on 09-Mar-14 at 11:16 am | Permalink
  18.  Kathy Damer says:

    Keep your radar on Ladies and Gentlemen! I love seeing the comments from those of you who spotted the fakes and nut jobs before getting taken advantage of. When this happens, you just have to move on and feel confident that you were astute enough to recognize the warning signs and end things without becoming a victim. Don’t let this kind of experience discourage you though because you can still have fun meeting people online. Try to remember that not everyone out there is a fraud.

    Posted on 20-Mar-14 at 11:17 am | Permalink
  19.  Mel Taylor says:

    I had been on Senior Dating Agency for a few weeks. Thing was I kept getting winks and profile views from members who were either inactive or had not used the site in months.I asked in my profile if anyone who contacted me would use my name Mel so that I knew they were a real person not a random, virtual one and lo and behold my account immediately deleted.

    Posted on 21-Mar-14 at 11:00 am | Permalink
  20.  Renee corley says:

    I have gone through this on multiple Occassions- one was from a Pittsburgh local site so I cancelled the site the other was match. I’m realistic I am not a model and when I get pics of someone that is hot and likes me for me give me a break- the one couldn’t even send pics of the same person. All involved going out of the country and some terrible tragedy happened and they needed money to come back. My words of wisdom are follow your gut, never ever send money or give out personal info.. You should also use the white pages to see if the name they gave you is legit. I had 2 who were names of people that were dead and one didn’t even exist. One also went as far as to set up a Facebook page. Also a big red flag is the time that they email or text you it’s always the same time every day meaning like out of the country/ different time zone. Again go with your gut!! If you think you’re being scammed you are. Also what someone said- if they have gotten close to scamming you you will notice just as they go away someone “new” is interested and it’s them knowing your likes and each time they find out more about you. I’ve learned a lot today thank you. Also if you call them out and they can’t prove whatever and get angry it’s very telling.

    Posted on 15-Aug-14 at 11:37 am | Permalink
  21.  kelly says:

    hi i just want to know if im being scammed or not….i am reveiving mails from a man who said hes from london and he is a seaman.he always message me and sending me sweet messages and he already owned me as his wife.he ask for my address coz he will be sending me some stuff and funds.havent meet him yet on skype.i already told him that i want to meet him there but he had no time since he was always on board..do u think im being scammed???pls.reply to my email..tnx

    Posted on 20-Aug-14 at 7:12 am | Permalink

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Kathy Damer is a University Graduate in Sociology and worked as Director of Marketing in the Retirement and Senior care industries for the past decade. Kathy has a deep understanding of the issues unique to senior dating and relationships and has been featured on the radio.

Kathy founded senior-dating.org as a way to provide free advice and resources for anyone looking to enter the world of senior dating. Please feel free to send Kathy your questions, comments and suggestions for topics that you’d like to see covered.

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