How to report a dating site

(The FBI says it may be embarrassing for victims to report this type of fraud scheme because of the personal relationships that are developed, so the real numbers are probably higher.) As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about. “Most people think the victims are middle-aged women who can’t get a date, but I have worked with men and women of all ages—doctors and lawyers, CEOs of companies, people from the entertainment industry—who you’d never think in a million years would fall for these scams but do,” says Barb Sluppick, who runs Romance Scams, a watchdog site and online support group.

According to a recent Consumer Reports Online Dating Survey of more than 114,000 subscribers, among the respondents who were considering online dating but were hesitant, 46 percent said they were concerned about being scammed. “Typically the scammer builds trust by writing long letters over weeks or months and crafting a whole persona for their victims,” says David Farquhar, Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI.

Check to see whether their email address shows up on romancescams.org, a site that keeps track of known email addresses of fraudsters.

It's always smart to ask someone else you trust for their opinion.

"Remember that romance scams are a confidence game, so these folks are going to appear to have all the desirable traits.

They are going to tailor their online personas to meet your needs." Velasquez adds that scammers aren't just after your money.

They might also be after your identity credentials or other personally identifying information.

In fact, the FBI reports that in 2016—the most recent year for which data is available—romance scams cost American consumers more than 0 million. The actual number may be even higher, because often people are too embarrassed to report such incidents.

Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, says that without face-to-face interaction, it can be hard to build trust.

"When you feel like you've made that special connection, it can throw you for a loop when you find out it's all fake," Velasquez says.

"If someone is too close too soon, immediately professing true love, if they are available all the time and responding immediately to every message, that should be a big red flag," says Velasquez.

If the person you're talking to says something that strikes you as odd, trust your gut.

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