Worried about becoming a victim of online dating scams or suspect you already might be? Getting scammed online is a big fear. And normally when we think about it, we picture either a crazed killer or someone trying to rip us off. But not everyone falls into one of these extremes and not everyone looks suspicious at first.

According to research by Cybersleuth Investigations Inc., online  scams are on the rise and often times the scam artist can come across ten times as normal as you. Today, I’ll be sharing the top 8 online dating scams you should watch out for, so you can keep yourself safe.

Top 8 Online Dating Scams:

8 Ways To Spot Online Dating Scams

#1: Someone with the same interests and/or background as you.

Does the person you’ve met online have so many similarities as you, it’s almost eerie? If so, be skeptical and cautious. If both of you love chocolate cake, both of you love the same sports team, and you’ve both once worked for the same company, etc. – those are red flags. Online dating scammers will research their victims ahead of time to establish trust and acceptance.

#2: Women, beware of Prince Charming.

Ladies… I need you to get this through your head—no man is perfect. Not even a little bit. But because so many women fantasize about the perfect man, scammers are able to exploit this weakness by presenting themselves as slightly younger, widowed, and/or successful entrepreneurs. The scam artist will come across as charming and easy to talk to.

#3: Men, beware of the young and sexy type.

 Guys… Online dating scams affect you, too. Watch out for those “ladies” who present themselves as young and attractive. Once they’ve built trust with you, they won’t hesitate to call in a favor, especially if you’ve been showering them with compliments and your attention is solely on them.

#4: Don’t talk about money too soon.

Avoid conversations about money and assets early on. Scammers want to confirm your income early to see whether or not you’re worth pursuing as a target.

#5: Sudden change in travel plans.

One of the oldest scams in the book involves the scammer scheduling travel plans to meet their victim. Suddenly, an emergency will happen that prevents them from showing up. As a result of this, they’ll ask for money or sway the conversation so that you offer them money. Never send money to an online dating partner. Report them to the authorities and the online dating site.

#6: Never send pictures of anything other than your face.

This is the safest way to limit the risk of blackmail. You can send full body shots (clothed); however, until you meet in person, you’re advised to use the same images as your online dating profile. Also, never send risqué photos of yourself. Those photos can lead to other things that they can use to threaten you with later. 

#7: Be cautious of love interests you meet on non-online dating sites.

Did someone reach out to you on Facebook or Instagram? This is another common ploy pulled by online dating scammers. Be careful when engaging with someone whom you met through a social networking site. Do your research on them and, when possible, schedule a Skype chat to verify who they say they are.

#8: Be weary of local phone numbers.

Just because someone has a “local” number or a number that’s familiar to you doesn’t mean they are in that area. These days, phone numbers can originate from anywhere, even from other countries. Do your research! 

Virtual Dating: The ☕

Until you can confirm that a person’s identity is real (such as by meeting them in person), you can’t solely rely on what you see online. People can portray themselves however they want, making it the fastest way to get scammed. So, to avoid online dating scams, keep your eyes peeled.