When viewing any dating website, always be cautious. The person appearing in photographs may not be actual members and other data may be for illustrative purposes only.
Anyone who is able to commit identity theft can also falsify a dating profile.
There is no substitute for acting with caution when communicating with any stranger who wants to meet you.
Never include your last name, e-mail address, home address, phone number, place of work, or any other identifying information in your Internet profile or initial e-mail messages.
Stop communicating with anyone who pressures you for personal or financial information or attempts in any way to trick you into revealing it.
There are certain red flags to watch for that may indicate you're dealing with a scammer. Be aware of anyone who:
- Quickly asks to talk or chat on an outside email or messaging service
- Claims to be from U.S. but currently travelling, living or working abroad
- Asks you for money
- Vanishes mysteriously from the site, then reappears under a different name
- Talks about "destiny" or "fate"
- Claims to be recently widowed
- Asks for your address under the guise of sending flowers or gifts
- Makes an inordinate amount of grammar and/or spelling errors
- Sends you emails containing strange links to third-party websites
NEVER share your personal or financial information with people you don't know. Make sure to follow these guidelines at all times when meeting new people online.
- DON'T ever send money to someone you meet online, especially by wire transfer. Keep in mind that wiring money is like sending cash: the ender has no protections against loss. Scammers often insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because it's nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Don't wire money to strangers or to someone who claims to be in an emergency (and wants to keep the request a secret).
- DON'T give out your credit card number or bank info.
- DON'T share your personal info, such as SSN, address, phone, etc.
If you choose to have a face-to-face meeting with another member, always tell someone in your family or a friend where you are going and when you will return. Never agree to be picked up at your home. Always provide your own transportation to and from your date and meet in a public place with many people around.
Long Distance Meetings
Long distance meetings pose special safety concerns to take into account. Keep these tips in mind.
- Stay in a hotel. Check into your own room and avoid staying in the other person's home. If you can't afford a hotel, you shouldn't go.
- Use a taxi or rental car to get to and from the airport. Securing your own ride is important. Even if the person you're meeting volunteers to pick you up from the airport, do not get into a personal vehicle with someone you've never met.
- Keep your hotel location confidential. The person you're meeting should respect your privacy until you know each other.
- Remember to keep your family and friends posted. Tell someone who you are meeting, where you are going and when you will return.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission's advice to avoid online romance scams is available here: http://onguardonline.gov/articles/0004-online-dating-scams