There are many dangers inherent in the internet dating world. There are always red flags that we “should have seen” but ignored. The problem with red flags is we most often see them way too late. Many people have lost money, possessions, and their hearts to someone they should have seen as suspicious from day one. Of course there are the more obvious red flags which we will discuss first, and then move on to the more elaborate schemes.
1. Finances : Are they asking you too many questions about YOUR financial status?
Your finances on a “need to know basis” – they don’t need to know until you have met numerous times in person, and a solid relationship has evolved. If they brag to you about being wealthy, this is a huge red flag. Wealthy people are very tight-lipped about their finances! If they are telling you a tale of how they “were on top of the world but then ____ ruined everything” (blaming someone else) this is another red flag to watch out for. Usually they will then talk about how they are on their way back up, and any minute, month or day now they will have it all back again – this is most likely a set-up. They will need YOUR help to get there. (financially of course) They will ask you to loan them money, go into business with them, or pick up the tab on some things til they get the money.
2. Save all emails or chat logs, and pay very close attention to DETAILS. Many times just by listening, you will pick up on discrepancies of things they have told you. Instant red flag! Listen to the way they answer your questions. Are they evasive or give general answers with little or no detail? Do they try and change the subject?
3. If they say they love you or feel “connected to you” right away this is also a red flag. Love takes a long time to develop, and although our egos love hearing words like that, they are not true. Love takes time, and if their love is not taking time, you should wonder what the big rush is! Just as quickly as it starts, it will end just as abruptly.
4. If they want to engage in intimate sex talk right away, another red flag. If they are starting with sexual talk then that is the reason why they are contacting you to begin with, for cyber sex, not a relationship.
5. If they are taking too long to meet you in person, they are most often with someone else, or not interested in a real relationship off the computer or phone. Don’t let yourself get emotionally invested in letters, chats and phone calls. If within the first few times you are on the phone and they want to have phone sex, hang up on them immediately. Get to know the person, the whole person, because you will become infatuated with the crumbs you are getting, not the whole picture.
6. If they are not willing to trade photos, or only send one ask yourself why? Photos are not costly, you can get anyone to scan them for you if you don’t have a scanner, and there is no reason they cannot send you recent photos unless they look nothing like they have described or are using a phony photo. Almost every phone these days has a camera.
7. If they want you to get a web cam or face time, 99% of the time it is so they can see you without your clothes. This is not someone you should take seriously.
8. Phone numbers. If you only get a cell phone because they claim to have no home phone, this can also be a red flag. Even though many people have cell phones, very few do NOT have only one way to reach them. If they only call you at certain times, on certain days, or disappear for days, they are most likely living with someone or married. If you try to call during times that you don’t normally speak and you only get their voice mail or are rushed off the phone, another red flag.
9. Do they claim to travel for work and use that excuse as to why you cannot be in contact very often? This is another red flag. They are not traveling for work, they are with someone else. Yes, I know people often travel for work, and a good way to verify they are is to ask them where they are staying, in what city, town, etc. Call the hotel and find out if they are registered. Ask them to pick you up a postcard from the place they are traveling to or ask them to take pictures to show you. If they do nothing of the sort over and over again, most likely they are not traveling, but with someone else.
10. Anyone contacting you from overseas should be avoided. Please see our “Nigerian dating scams” page for more information.
11. Find out when their last relationship ended. If it was recently, if it was, be very careful. Anyone recently out of a relationship stands a good chance of getting back together with that person, and you will be out in the cold.
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