If you are like most people, then you are probably stuck at home and don’t have much to do for fun. Perhaps you could use this free time to meet real people virtually and create long-lasting relationships. Yes, online dating is still a thing, albeit with some negatives that you must know how to avoid before you jump in.
Every year, millions of people using the internet to find love or partners get scammed and end up losing a lot of money to fraudsters. This is especially worrying during the lockdown where an increase in dating fraud is observed. Not to worry though, online dating scams are quite easy to detect and avoid. Here some of the red flags you need to look out for and how to avoid them:
The Dating Fraudster
They will try to lure you into a virtual romance that has all the things you desire. Most of them have taken a lot of time to study how people who are looking for love would react to certain narratives and perfected their manipulation skills. After you have fallen head over heels in love with them, they will pretend to be in some kind of trouble and need urgent help from you.
Online dating fraudsters often successfully manipulate their victims into believing their stories, connect with them emotionally, and smoothly transition to being a lover in distress. As unbelievable as it may sound, many people fall into such dating frauds every day and end up wiring money to these people without ever seeing them virtually or in person.
The Identity Thieves
Part of the dating game involves sharing personal information such as your full names, address, life stories, and other details with the other party using whichever channel you are using to communicate. While it might appear harmless, sharing too much information with people you met on a dating website could allow them to steal your identity, hack your online accounts, and cause a lot of damage.
It’s quite easy to get too cozy and comfortable with a lover you met on a dating website that you end up sending them videos and images that you wouldn’t normally share with a stranger. This can open you up to webcam blackmail where the other party demands payment from you or threatens to publish your private conversations and media to the public internet or close relatives.
These and many other risks still plague the online dating world but it does not mean you should be afraid of finding a lover on the internet. Here some of the ways to protect yourself when dating online:
Protect Your Data
It’s advisable to ensure that your online activity when dating on the internet is secured and only visible to you. This you can do by downloading a VPN on your device and turning it on whenever you access the dating platform. A major function of a VPN is that it protects your data from online fraudsters and keeps third parties from spying on your online activity, IP address, and location.
Arrange A Physical Meeting
Make sure you plan a physical meeting in a public place before you get too serious with the other party. Online fraudsters and scammers will often try to stall and avoid a physical meeting because they are not interested in having a relationship with you. Asking to meet them in person will often discourage them.
Be Careful About the Information You Share
Don’t share too much information with your online partner before you get to meet them and start dating. Be especially wary of people who ask for personal details such as your date of birth, maiden names, physical address, place of work, etc.
A lot of the risks associated with online dating can be avoided if you exercise a bit of diligence and good judgment when talking to your online partners. Often, most fraudsters and scammers will disappear if they don’t get you to do their bidding after a short period. Stay safe!
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This is a contributed post.