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Internet Dating Scams Advice

Avoiding Internet Dating Scams

Dating scams are something that everyone using an Internet dating service needs to know about. Normally the dating scams are certainly not perpetrated by the companies offering Internet dating but by some of the individuals using the services.

Just how some individuals use Internet dating services for their own deceptive ends will be discussed, but first some important points about dating companies and supposed scams.

It is reasonable to argue that the big successful Internet dating services would not be in business for very long if they perpetrated scams upon their customers, as a tiny few have claimed here and there on the Internet. In any large business, online or off, there will always be a few dissatisfied customers for whatever reason (e.g. customers who do not read the details of what they are purchasing; or genuine errors made by computing systems that can be put right with a little perseverance).

That is the nature of business because very large numbers of customers, employees and systems are involved. A small minority of dissatisfied customers may cry scam solely in order to express their annoyance. To complain is one thing, to cry scam with no evidence is quite another.

There was one recent case, for example, in which a customer of a large Internet dating service was fooled into visiting a second party web site by someone he encountered on a dating site. At the second party site he was sent to, he parted with his financial details and was robbed. He then complained bitterly that the large Internet dating service was a scam. Clearly this is not a reasonable conclusion to reach: he was scammed by an individual member of the dating service, not by the service itself.

This is an important distinction. If you are conned by someone you meet in a bar you would not be justified in claiming that the bar owners were perpetrating a scam, not unless they knew about and condoned the scammer's actions.

Any Internet dating service that is open to all will be used by scammers as well as by genuine users. It is learning to distinguish between who is genuine and who is not, that is important. Conmen and scam artists do not only operate online but in the real world too. At least online you usually have time to consider a situation carefully before you act. Many would argue that Internet dating allows you greater scope to avoid scams and criminals than offline dating.

Sometimes too, large Internet dating companies are accused of spamming, or sending unsolicited commercial email (see our definitions of this here: Spam Notes). Usually it is not the dating companies that are engaged in this illegal activity but a minority of their affiliates. Naturally such aberrant affiliates do not identify themselves in their emails but hide behind (and so try to implicate) the companies they are promoting. This applies across the board, not just in Internet dating.

Most Internet dating services have a strict rule that affiliates caught spamming will be dismissed without being paid. But that does not stop some individuals doing it anyway until they are caught. This can sometimes give the companies they are promoting unfair bad press.

One of the Internet dating companies we promote on this site is PenPalsPlanet. This company does not allow its affiliates to send any email at all that promotes its service, thereby going a step further even than banning spam email.

Affiliate marketing itself is a legitimate form of marketing that is widespread and commonplace on the Internet, being one of the main forms of marketing online. Big companies down to small businesses and individuals do business online through affiliate marketing. Sometimes people complain about affiliates of Internet dating companies (and those of other kinds of online companies), saying that they represent themselves as the merchant site. This also is clearly against PenPalsPlanet's rules. has always made it clear that it is an Internet Dating Sites affiliate. We state this in our terms of service and say on our home page that we may gain commission if services are purchased through our links. (BTW, this does not alter the amount the customer pays in any way, regardless of where the customer purchases).

Some affiliate web sites about dating make claims about the services they are promoting being 'free', while others say it is free to register but do not mention that the member must pay to subscribe and send emails to singles that interest them. (Context: most dating service companies offer a limited free option and a paid service that enables customers to contact singles). has consistently made it clear throughout this site that although it is free to register, to search and use the services in a limited way, a paid subscription must be purchased to pro-actively email the singles.

Internet Dating Scams by Members

Turning now to members of Internet dating sites who have only signed up only in order to scam other users and what to watch out for in order to avoid being taken in.

Firstly, when you receive a response to your Internet dating ad or profile, look carefully at whether it talks about things actually in your profile and does not speak generally. If this is the case it would suggest that your profile has not actually been read and responded to, but simply a generic reply has been sent to any number of profile writers, an early potential indicator of a scam.

Take a careful look at the photo of any Internet profile you are interested in. Does the image look like a photo of a model, perfectly lit and arranged? Could be that it is, and that the writer of the ad has not used their own image but simply lifted one from another site somewhere. This should at the very least set the alarm bells ringing.

Perhaps most Internet dating scams are perpetrated by overseas scammers. They may even engage the innocent single in long-term communication before asking for money for a visa, travel or whatever. Sometimes someone who presents themselves as an intermediary will contact you, claiming that the person you are interested in does not speak your language, then sting you for expensive translation services.

With any Internet conversation you should pay close attention to the details and remain vigilant for the possibilities of a dating scam at work. Is there something that doesn't ring true? Is the other person constantly evasive when asked questions?

Finally, be aware of Internet Dating Scams but don't let them put you off online dating. Millions of genuine singles do use these sites and they do get together as a result of these sites. You wouldn't be put off offline dating through fear of scammers, would you? Yet they exist in offline dating too. Be vigilant, be sensible, but at the same time have fun.

3 Online Dating Scams to Watch Out For

Featured Internet Dating Safety Advice Article:

Playing it Safe in Online Dating

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"Why many people fail to find a life partner (and what you can do about finding yours)"


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Anti Scam Guide image The Anti Scam Guide
For men seeking a Russian Wife. This 18 page guide gets straight to the point showing you clear ways to recognise if the Eastern European or Russian woman you are emailing is genuine or part of a dating scam. Don't wait until you are emotionally involved and you find out too late.

Background Checks
Here is somewhere you can carry out background checks on someone you are in contact with, hopefully before you begin dating them offline. You can access various types of court records for anyone, and these include criminal records.

Safe European Dating
How to find safe European dating.

Photo Personals Sites Advice
How to use your photo effectively in the online photo personals and so avoid being ignored by people browsing.

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We ask you to note that all of our Internet dating advice is just that, advice, and in reading this site you accept that you are responsible for your own actions. If you don't agree, please don't use the site. Terms of Service

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Copyright Feb 2014 ©
--- Advice about Internet dating since 2002 ---
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