Catfishing has been in the news a lot lately. The reality is that dating on-line is a great way to initially meet someone but how do you know if they are real? There comes a point and it should be long before your on-line connection goes on for a year or 2 when you need to verify that who you are talking to is indeed who they say they are.
If you are using a dating website, they all have security to protect their users, it is there for a good reason. If someone asks you to go outside of the sites methods of contact, as in send me your phone number so we can text instead of spending money, odds are good they are scamming. What are they doing on the site if they can’t afford to spend a few dollars to pursue a relationship? In some cases the sites are free in which case there is no reason to go outside their contact system.
Don’t give out your phone number until you verify that someone is “real”.
The easiest way to weed out the lazy fishers is to ask for a video chat. Scammers can send you pictures but they can’t fake what they look like on an on-line video chat. Scammers will come up with all sorts of excuses on why they can’t video. I have done a lot of travelling in countries like Bolivia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, in all of these countries there are internet cafes & they all have cameras on the computers, they are very cheap to use, less than $1.00 an hour. There are very few places in the world where someone would not be able to access a computer with a camera. If someone can contact you via the Internet and text they can do a video chat.
I am always amazed when I hear about people giving money to people they have never met. I don’t give money to my family members, no way I would give it to a stranger who’s only contact has been via the Internet. This is a total red flag! People can ask for money without really asking, you know the “My car broke down, wish I could afford to fix it, won’t be able to make my job interview next week”. Don’t fall for it, anyone who is legitimately looking for a relationship will not ask you for money or hint that you should give it to them. You don’t know this person, it is not your responsibility to take care of them. These people will make it sound like you are the only one who can “save” them to bring out the protector we all have in us, they know how to play people to get what they want.
If you have chatted with someone online and they are immediately complimenting you & telling you how crazy they are about you.. Things are off. The people who scam need to get you into the loop fast, time is money to them. No one who is looking for a real relationship will behave this way. They will want to get to know you and build a foundation before they decide if you are what they are looking for. Imagine if in the real world you went on 2 dates with someone and they started talking about marriage and sharing finances.. You would get a restraining order and put them in the stalker pile never to be seen again.
Keep in mind that scammers are very good at what they do. They can come up with a million excuses and with rose colored glasses firmly in place many people fall for them. Your safest bet is to trust no one until they prove to you that they are who they say they are. If someone cares about you and really wants to have a relationship with you they will understand why you are cautious and in fact your safety, comfort and welfare should be one of their main priorities.