One of the few downsides of being a free online dating site that invests a lot in search engine optimization (SEO) is that we are very attractive to “romance scammers.”
What is a romance scammer? Someone typically located in Europe or Africa who scours the internet looking for free, popular dating sites, joins with a cheesy sounding username (example: Looking4Love), a fake photo, and messages dozens or even hundreds of members in an attempt to start a dialogue over Email (outside of the dating site).
Their goal, of course, is money. If someone takes the bait and responds to a message, the scammer will continue the dialogue and perhaps send more risque (fake) photos. At some point, the scammer will send a message to the effect of “Honey, I had an accident, I’m in the hospital and I can’t access my money…can you wire me $200 USD and I can pay you back next week?”
Luckily, there is a database of scammer Email addresses against which we check each new TruConnection sign up (we require a valid Email address to register), and have deleted about fifteen scammers so far. But sometimes they will use new addresses which haven’t been added to the database yet, and it takes longer to identify and delete.
99% of members will never respond to a message sent by a scammer — their English is often very poor, which is usually a dead giveaway. But in case someone is duped, there is a simple rule to follow that will ensure you will not be a victim of a scammer:
Never give money to someone you have never met in person.
If everyone followed this simple rule, the unfortunate existence of romance scammers would end pretty quickly.