Swipe Left on Dating Scammers (Yes, it can happen to you)

Dating scammers are masters of manipulation. They know what buttons to push and heartstrings to pull. They know the sweet nothings to whisper to you over the phone and the love letters to email. They know how to reel their victims in. And it really could happen to anyone, including you. Including me.

Falling for a dating scam doesn’t imply you are stupid. It doesn’t mean you’re a chump.

In Hong Kong, 114 cases of online dating fraud were reported to police in the city, costing victims a total of US$12.2 million.

Falling for a dating scam is testament to your willingness to give someone the benefit of the doubt, represents your status as a hopeless romantic and shows you just want to be loved…like so many of us.

That big beating heart of yours is a beautiful thing but it’s also a liability because there are many people who want to take advantage of it for their own benefit. And they are ruthless.

Scamming is prevalent all over the world. Forbes reports that in 2016 “the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received close to 15,000 reports of “romance scams,” amounting to more than US$230 million in losses” and since 2010, Canadians have lost nearly US$50 million to romance scams. In the UK, figures almost 3,400 victims of romance fraud in 2016, losing a combined total of more than US$50 million. And in Hong Kong, 114 cases of online dating fraud were reported to police in the city, costing victims a total of US$12.2 million.

Here are five tips to prevent getting scammed:

1. Listen to your gut. Our intuition is very powerful but it won’t do you any good if you don’t listen to it.

2. Do your best to not give strangers the benefit of the doubt.

3. Remember: If it’s too good to be true it is.

4. Meet in person to make sure they’re for real. Don’t settle for photos and don’t accept excuses. Meet within a week and if you can’t meet IRL then do a Skype session with video.

5. Don’t despair. There is an abundance of wonderful single people in the world and you deserve to be with one of them.

Please don’t be embarrassed if you ever find yourself in a situation where you think you are being scammed. It has happened to thousands of people before you and it will happen to thousands more. You are not to blame and you should not be ashamed but you must speak up and get help.

xo Ari

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