Our Safety Tips
The online world is a fun and exciting place to be. However, there are some people out there who use the internet to take advantage of others for personal gain. Let's give you an insight into what we're doing to keep you safe online.
What is a scammer?
‘Scammer’ is the name given to members who do not have genuine intentions. This can cover a whole range of things from escorts, prostitutes and ‘cam girls’, all the way to the other end of the spectrum to what are known as Romance Scams. Romance Scams can be the most harmful to our members, as it is a game played with people's emotions in order to try and procure financial gain.
This is something that is a problem across the internet as a whole, especially as the social cyber world grows. Fortunately, people are becoming more and more aware of the dangers and are becoming more knowledgeable on what to look out for.
Who are the Moderation Team and what do they do?
The Moderation Team works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help protect our members.
It is their job to ensure that all content which is posted onto the sites by our members is not only genuine, but appropriate for the site that it is intended for. Each moderator must adhere to the guidelines set for each site in order to ensure that all member content posted, is consistent and fair with regards to the rules that we have set.
As well as ensuring that content is acceptable, they must also keep up to date with all of the trends that scammers use. They are a dedicated team and appreciate that they are ‘gate keepers’ if you will for the sites. Therefore they all work tirelessly to try and make sure that as few fraudsters as possible slip through the net.
What signs should members look for when chatting to someone new?
When a member begins chatting to someone on the site, there are 3 things that I would advise them to look out for:
- Have they used flowery language in their message, lots of descriptive words and ‘Hello dear’?
- Have they tried giving out contact details quite early on in the conversation? Are they asking to talk outside of the site?
- Have they told you about a tragic event that has happened to them recently or in the past?
If a member can answer yes to all 3 of these questions, then they should stop all communication immediately and report them to our Moderation Team for further investigation.
How do you report a suspicious profile?
If a member comes across someone that they believe to be in-genuine or someone that gives them cause for concern, they can use the ‘Report This Profile’ link, which can be found at the top and bottom of every member's profile as well as the top and bottom of any conversation with the member.
If you have any questions or concerns about any members on the site, please remember to use the Report This Profile button.
How to spot a scammer
The online dating world is your oyster, and there are undoubtedly plenty of fish in the cyber sea! But when you're a little fish in such a big pond, how do you spot the fish from the scammer?
There are a number of types of online dating scams, i.e romance scams, military scams and recovery scams. No matter what the type of scam, a scammer is a scammer. They create fake profiles on legitimate dating sites with their sights set on one thing… your hard earned money.
It's important to remember that anyone can be targeted. You don't have to be rich, and you don't have to be stupid to fall prey to these scams. Always be vigilant when you start communication with a stranger on a dating site, and consider the possibility of the other person not being who they say they are.
Being a victim of scammer activity can be both emotionally and financially distressing. Having as much information as possible can help prevent you or even someone you know, from becoming a victim. Here are our top tips on what to look out for:
- Check the age of the person contacting you: Young male scammers often target middle-aged and older women, as there is more of a chance of the target being wealthy or vulnerable.
- Check his/her dating profile: What information does it give out? Common scammer profiles will show that they work overseas, are self-employed professionals and are widowed. Perhaps they have stated they live near your area, and are due to return soon from a business trip or from charity work overseas? This should trigger alarm bells. Please be aware that there are no military generals from the USA, browsing dating sites, asking people for money. There are no white male engineers in Ghana, stranded there unable to afford to fly home to the UK. Some scammer profiles are blank. If you are in contact with someone who has not filled out a profile, be very wary. Ask them for further information.
- Messaging: Are you being asked for your personal contact details at a very early stage? Have you received a first message asking you for your Skype address, email address or phone number? Many scammers will give the excuse that they 'hate messaging back and forth on these sites' and will suggest continuing the conversation elsewhere. Do not give out any personal details if you have any concerns.
- Message content: Is the message full of spelling and grammatical errors? Is there a blank where your name should be? Are they using unusual and unnatural wording? i.e. 'Hello dear, how are you this day dear?', 'I am Hannah by name, and 30 by age', 'I hope to be reading from you soon dear'. If your answer to any of these questions is yes, you should stop all contact immediately.
- Rapid escalation of contact: A high volume of calls, texts and expressions of love and passion early into the relationship is a sure tell tale sign of a scammer.
- Asking for money: No member on any of our dating sites should ever ask you for money. Do not give out any personal banking details. One of the most common scammer tactics is to play on your emotional weaknesses, break down your barriers and gain your trust. 'The halo effect' as psychologists have named it, is a type of cognitive bias where our perception of one personality trait influences how we view a person's entire personality. For example, if a person shows themselves to be kind, we then tend to think that they are intelligent, fun and generous. If we fall into this trap, it is then easier for the scammer to pull out the trust card and use reverse psychology on us. If you refuse them their ask, they will tell you that without trust there can be no relationship, or similarly, they thought you were different, and they thought you cared about them. These tricks are used every day by scammers across the world.
When it comes to online dating, use your common sense and always trust your gut instinct. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Try not to fill your profile with too much personal information. If you have had a traumatic or emotional experience and share this on your page, a scammer will see this as vulnerability and a way to get to you.
Do not share photos of yourself with family to people you do not trust - they can use these to scam other people with.
The world of online dating is exciting and full of possibilities. Be wary, sensible and vigilant to avoid yourself becoming a victim.
Happy and safe searching!
The Reported Member tool
It is essential for our members to have the ability to raise concerns about other members swiftly and efficiently.
The Online Dating Protector team has an invaluable system at their disposal for this very purpose: The Reported Member Tool.
This tool is monitored by our highly trained team who review every profile reported and remove suspicious profiles with immediate effect.
How it works
Every member has a button on their profile labeled 'Report This Profile'. If someone is behaving inappropriately, one simply has to click the button and type a brief reason as to why they are reporting the profile. This report is then immediately sent to our specialist team, who will take appropriate action. This action comes in three forms:
- A member's profile will be marked as suspicious (this is the case when there is no clear evidence for stricter action). Once a profile has been marked as suspicious, it is regularly checked by our Moderators for any suspicious activity.
- A written warning from the Customer Care Team.
- Removal and deletion from the site.
The end result
By combining the awareness of our valued members, the decisiveness and abilities of the Online Dating Protector Team, and the powerful Reported Member Tool we continue to provide our members with a safe and secure online dating service.