Five tips on how to spot a romance fraudster

If you're in search of a significant other, you may encounter some unscrupulous people who will take advantage of the fact that your desire will cloud your judgment. Learn to spot a romance scam with our top tips.

For more read: Are you dating a fraudster?

1. Are they asking for money?

Be cautious if someone you've developed a relationship with online asks for money or tells you a story about 'hard luck' that makes you want to selflessly lend them some, no matter how long you've been corresponding via email. Many online fraudsters take several months to gain your trust and then ask you to wire money that you won't be able to recover once you've send it.

2. Go with your gut

Trust your instincts if a new online relationship asks to see you via webcam, but often makes excuses for reciprocating like their webcam is 'acting up.' Scammers may want to ensure that you're not an undercover officer and may be unwilling let you see them since they look nothing like the photos they've sent over the Internet.

3. Check the source

Raise the red flag if someone has contacted you through an unsolicited email or wants to talk to you frequently via instant messenger, establishes a rapport and a desire to be near you and then suddenly has to travel to another state or country "on business." They may then talk about coming back and suddenly need money for a ticket home or an unpaid hotel bill, for example.

4. International scammers

Ask questions if a person you're having an online relationship with invents a reason to have products sent to your home that you must then forward to them in another country, particularly Nigeria. Many companies won't send items to Nigeria until they receive full payment, so scammers must have them sent to the states when they pay with stolen credit cards.

5. Make sure the dating website is legit

Steer clear of dating websites that require you to pay for each message that you read or send. The person you're interested in may send you numerous messages and ask you questions in a series of emails that require you to respond constantly, therefore spending money on the website.

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