Online dating is an adventure. I have met fun, interesting men like Coach through online dating sites. I’ve also met a few interesting men like that fella who told me all his life troubles in a ten minute phone call.
One of the first men I spoke to online was a charming, handsome, half-Italian widower with a young son. He wanted to know all about me. He thought I was charming and beautiful. And eventually, he wanted me to wire money to pay for his son’s medical treatments after a disastrous accident during a vacation in Thailand.
When I met him, I was new to online dating. I was new to any kind of dating. The last time I dated, there were no cell phones, computers or online anything.
I am an intelligent, educated woman. But I still liked the attention of the charming man with the tragic life story.
His wife died in childbirth, leaving him a young widower with a baby boy to raise alone. He was a professional, an architect who worked for himself in Virginia, an eight or ten hour drive from my house. He and his son were going on a trip of a lifetime to Thailand.
When he emailed about the “terrible accident” he and his son were involved in while in Thailand, my antennae started twitching. When he emailed that he needed to “borrow” money to pay for his son’s medical treatments, I realized I was being scammed. Even though I didn’t respond, he still sent one more email with a more basic scam. Could he have money wired into my account and then could I forward it to him.
I told this handsome, charming man up front that I was an attorney. In spite of that, he tried to scam me out of money. A few weeks later, I spoke to a newly-single, professional friend who had a similar story.
Since then, I analyze online profiles differently. Here are some of the red flags I look for.
- Sentence structure that is not correct. The words aren’t misspelled, but the syntax isn’t quite right.
- His wife died in childbirth. Sometimes the babies died with them. Other times the child is still around.
- One of his parents is from Italy, or Australia, or any country other than the United States.
- He insists on swapping personal emails very quickly. Then he shuts down his dating profile.
- He want you to be his “queen”.
- He is effusively complimentary when he doesn’t know enough about you to know how fabulous you really are.
- He doesn’t not live close enough to arrange an in-person meeting. This allows him to promise a meeting without ever actually following through.
My friend and I were lucky. We are smart, professional women who didn’t get fooled by the scam artists who crossed our paths. I wonder how many other women aren’t as lucky as we are.
Question: Have you ever run across a scam artist on a dating site?