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People are often ashamed to come forward and admit that they’ve been duped.

It’s not a good feeling to have been taken advantage of, and a scheme that’s so obvious in hindsight is even harder to admit to. If you date online, take precautions to protect yourself.

The most common reasons that they give for needing money are not being able to afford a passport, visa, other travel documents, or plane tickets (often to come see you); an emergency stay in the hospital that requires a huge sum of money; getting robbed while traveling; or not being able to access their money from abroad.

There’s a huge variety of reasons that you could get.

Many scammers will be prepared to answer these and even more complicated questions, but if you can’t get answers from a suitor, you should be suspicious.

While there are online dating scammers from all over the world, a significant number of them come from non-English-first-language countries, which means that sometimes there will be communicative markers that indicate your suitor isn’t who they say they are.

If their profile says they’ve lived in Ohio their entire lives, but they’re using non-standard English, or have notably poor grammar, that could be a warning sign (think of the kinds of errors you’d see in a Nigerian scam email or on the phone, where they need to spontaneously come up with things to say. Obviously, there are plenty of non-native speakers out there who are sincerely looking for a relationship, and they could very well be from heritage speaking communities in the United State or Britain.

This isn’t a dead giveaway, but it’s something to watch out for.

In August, a British man was sent to jail after defrauding two women of over £300,000 (5,300) through online dating sites.

He had convinced them that he was a diplomat and that a US marine general had fallen in love with them, causing one woman to pawn jewelry, empty her life savings, sell her car, and take out loans to help this general move to the UK. In 2011, the Internet Crime Complaint Center estimated that the online dating scamming “industry” was worth over million, but it’s likely much higher than that, due to the difficulty of making a good estimate.

Online dating websites aren’t the most secure Discreet online dating site Ashley Madison (targeted primarily at cheating spouses) has been hacked.

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