How to tell an online dating scammer

In addition to losing your money to someone who had no intention of ever visiting you, you may also have unknowingly taken part in a money laundering scheme by cashing phony checks and sending the money overseas and by shipping stolen merchandise (the forwarded package).

In another recently reported dating extortion scam, victims usually met someone on an online dating site and then were asked to move the conversation to a particular social networking site, where the talk often turned intimate.

We strongly recommend, however, that if you think you’ve been victimized by a dating scam or any other online scam, file a complaint with our Internet Crime Complaint Center (

Before forwarding the complaints to the appropriate agencies, IC3 collates and analyzes the data—looking for common threads that could link complaints together and help identify the culprits. Here are some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of an online dating scam.

For weeks, even months, you may chat back and forth with one another, forming a connection. But ultimately, it’s going to happen—your new-found “friend” is going to ask you for money.

So you send money..rest assured the requests won’t stop there.

But if more than one of the following email discrepancies pop up during the course of your communications, it may be an internet dating scam.Where the danger lies, however, is not their interest in you as a person, but rather that they don't offer any detailed, personal information about themselves in return, or doesn't really answer your emails in a personal manner but rather changes the topic with each contact.Appropriate responses are integral to determining whether or not the relationship you are creating is based on reality and not a potential internet dating scam.One way to steer clear of these criminals altogether is to stick to online dating websites with nationally known reputations.Finally, the FBI advises not to send money through any wire transfer service to someone you met online.These criminals—who also troll social media sites and chat rooms in search of romantic victims—usually claim to be Americans traveling or working abroad. While their most common targets are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled, but every age group and demographic is at risk. You’re contacted online by someone who appears interested in you.He or she may have a profile you can read or a picture that is e-mailed to you.So how do you avoid falling prey to an internet dating scam in the first place?Take heed of the following red flags and you'll be much more aware, prepared and ready should someone try and take advantage of you.Millions of Americans visit online dating websites every year hoping to find a companion or even a soulmate.But as Valentine’s Day gets closer, the FBI wants to warn you that criminals use these sites, too, looking to turn the lonely and vulnerable into fast money through a variety of scams..

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