So, once again I have fallen for an online scammer...nothing dire mind you, just feeling stupid and hurt. I decided to open a discussion. Perhaps there has been one already at some time on this topic. I wanted to share some of what I have learned.
There are predators out there of both sexes, my experience has been with individuals (maybe even teams) posing as males. Here goes:
1. Careers in the military or engineering
3. Have dependent children - usually female
4. Usually in a foreign country
5.Usually a significant time difference
6. Sometime you can use Google to check their image picture, but sometimes not.
7. Their profile picture is attractive
8. Usually their age is significantly lower than yours > 10 years
9. They quickly engage you in a romantic discussion
10. I also have noted that sometimes they don't even respond to what you have written so maybe they just have some auto-emailing program (this is a clue that there is no real person on the other end)
11. They are relentless in their pursuit of victims.
Anyway, feel free to join in if you have any tips about how to avoid these people.
As soon as I put up a Profile on Match.com I got a couple of immediate responses from guys whose account was set up so that I could see their messages even with a freebie membership. The general message was the same: "My paid membership is about to expire but I saw your profile and liked your smile (or my friend George saw your profile and liked your smile).. please contact me (or George) at... (phone number, typically out of area)". I just got another recently- same thing. Paid membership about to end, didn't respond at all to any of my questions or comment on specifics of my profile. Those are very easy to report and block.
Another started, "Hello, Beautiful..." his Profile was gone the next day. Sad, but when you're average-looking you have to be on your guard when someone addresses you as "Beautiful". One guy had his email address "tattooed" across his profile photo, probably to circumvent the prohibition against putting contact info in your Profile. Suspiciously, his e-mail address ended in 53 (if it was his birth year he'd be 65) but he claimed to be 61, IIRC.
Finally, I jokingly showed DS a profile pic of a stodgy-looking guy in full military dress (said he was retired military at some ball) and DS said that he was wearing a Marine uniform but one of his many ribbons/medals was a SEAL badge- from the Navy. Oops. Glad I spent the $$ to send DS to HS at NY Military Academy.
I decided a long time ago that looks were not that important (side story, a guy I worked with was SOOO good looking all of us women were swooning...but as time went on I realized he was a stupid jerk, and completely forgot about his looks)..... anyway, when I was on a dating site, I hid my profile, and I contacted the guys I wanted to interact with. I looked over the profiles for a couple of weeks, and then would contact only a couple at a time. I found it best to contact more than one, because it's easy to get swept away. And, I took it really slow. Even with this, it was a problem of one who was way too eager, and one who just happened to pick up a woman in a bar (which I guess turned into more than a one night stand), a few days before we were to meet. Guys usually don't get women approaching them, so I was never turned down. (but that was many years ago, so it may be different now) I did not have my pic on my profile, but would send to them if they asked. I was also very, very, careful to not give out any information as to my financial situation, as there are way too many men (and women) who are looking for someone to take care of them.
But, the widows I know who have found someone, were introduced by mutual friends, which still seems to work out the best. One woman was actively telling her friends she wanted to meet a guy...and she finally did.
I'd love to meet new people in person (especially through other people I know) but I tend to see the same group (church, Toastmasters, Garden Club, gym) and there are no interesting prospects. And, now that I think of it, I was introduced to my first husband by a former HS classmate, whose husband worked with him. He put on a splendid facade- Hickey-Freeman suits, drove a Camaro, supposedly had a house on the NJ shore. He turned out to be a total financial train wreck. "The beach house" to which he always referred was indeed beautiful- it belonged to his sister and BIL. Why did I marry him? I blame my bio clock.
OTOH, through Match.com I've met 3 guys so far and they were all true to their profiles, as far as I could tell. No spark on one or both sides for the first two, the 3rd may be a possibility (it was only yesterday). Two gave me their cell numbers before we met but I didn't use them (I would have if I'd been running late)- I found that for some reason I can't turn off the Caller ID function that would display my name. There are instructions on the internet for my phone but a section of the menu that they show doesn't exist on mine. Very annoying since I have an uncommon name. It's extremely unlikely I would have met any of them in the normal course of things so I'm going to keep on (cautiously) keeping on.
I get them on my facebook. You are right on. When my husband was alive, I got my first from a guy in my cooking forum. I thought well why not he was supposed from the netherlands, I showed Gary and he was in agreement. But it kept getting weirder and weirder. Gave it a little bit of slack for cultural differences and then one after he told me to all him right then!. I blocked him immediately.
Now I always check to see if they have any friends and if they do, are they any in common. If not it is an automatic delete.
I got a few FB requests from nice-looking younger guys who had no other friends, and then one who had lots of friends- but while he had an American name all his friends had Middle-Eastern names. Hmmmm. And I still list my status as "Married".
This is a common thing amongst any social sites. once they mention desperation, needing money***, being stranded in another country etc. I just insist on meeting and as relentless as they are, it of course is a non-starter for them. I do think its a team of people, some from far away places, that's why the communications seem strange. But yes, like crossing a road and looking both ways more than once, if something doesn't seem to make sense in communicating, it should raise a flag. I'm surprised how prevalent it is, so there must be enough people who get suckered in to make it profitable.