Using Caution When Meeting People On The Net

How to spot dating scammers

Dating scammers plague every online dating site. A scammer is looking to make a connection with a trusting member with the ultimate purpose of getting money from them.

Unfortunately, scammers find people who identify themselves as geeks to be particularly vulnerable to flattery. At Geek 2 Geek, every profile is reviewed before it appears to other members, and before the member is allowed to wink or send messages to other members. Every day, we delete a large percentage of submitted profiles that we determine to be scammers. However, even with the best techniques we have been able to develop, sometimes a scammer will be able to get through the profile review process.

That said, there are numerous ways you can tell if a person who contacts you on Geek 2 Geek (or any other dating site) is a likely scammer.

Beyond taking care to avoid scammers, there are many other safety tips  associated with online dating that you should follow. You might consider identity protection companies for extra protection. Please also refer to our page on using caution when meeting people on the net for more useful information on online dating protocol.

A Dating Scammer normally follows these steps in the process of luring in a member:

Posts an attractive photo (such as attractive professional models) and fake profile on a dating website.

Mass messages members with a  pre-written copy of message. In the message, the scammer normally shows interests in the victim's profile and asks if the victim wants to know more about the scammer.

Most of the time an email address (typically Yahoo mail or Hotmail) of the scammer is included in the message.

If the scammer gets replies, he/she would make up stories and would normally claim how bad his/her current situation is and needs help to overcome it in some way. The scammer's story could be very emotional and easily gain sympathy and affection from the victim.

The scammer gradually lures the victim away from the messaging channels provided by the dating website towards external means such as personal emails, instant messaging, telephone calls, or even webcam.

No matter what the story is, after a period of establishing trust, romance, and desire, the scammer will ask for money to be sent in forms such as cash money orders, send merchandise, or currency exchange via a telegraphic money transfer service, usually Western Union or Moneygram, etc. Often the money is supposed to cover the expense of them flying over to meet the member, or obtaining a visa, etc.

The scammer keeps asking for money (using continued excuses as to what happened to the money previously sent) until the victim can't afford or the fraud is perceived.

Note that the scammers steal attractive photos from other websites, so these photos have nothing to do with these scammers. The real people of these photos are also victims of romance scam.

What to do if you suspect that someone is trying to scam you?

-- Ask the scammer questions about Australia (where she/he is living, what towns are around, Football or cricket questions, etc). Many times the scammer wouldn't have a clue.

-- Ask where the scammer lives and what towns are around her.

Even though you might think they could easily look these things up, they don’t, instead they make up an excuse as to why they don’t know.

Report your suspicion to us. If you are still able to access her profile on our site, click on the "Report Profile" link and tell us what your suspicions are. If you don’t recall the profile name (you can always look at your original message from her), use the Contact Us form to let us know.

Message examples

Scammers’ messages normally start with a sense of desire to know more about you and in return, show you more about me. Because they use the "copy and paste" method to send multiple messages in a short time, they will flatter you in a general way without being specific as to what in your profile drew their attention. Be very leery of broken English and misspellings, punctuation errors, etc.

Here are some examples from other sites.

Example #1

My name is Helena and I am 29 years old. I have no kid. I am a very personable person and I like to be involved in a lot of things. I have a problem at the moment wich is just a minor setback for me and I have a lot to catch up on when I return home. I don't have anyone in my life (friend or family) at this time and I do get lonely. I'm using this as a means to meet new people and stay updated on fashion!! . I also will pursue my modeling career upon my return home. I am not looking for love, just a companion. If love should fine me then I'm open to it, I will like to hook up sometimes but at the moment I am having a big problem Thats is making things hard for me that's why I said when I return dont know if you care to know what my problems are. Hope to hear from you soon!u can email me diectl to my email.

Example #2

I am very family oriented, although i have no children. I am definatly real and in West Africa now. Remember that your best friend in the whole world was a total stranger at one time. Get to know me, there are no complications in my life and i'm versatile like vanilla ice cream. I am, can be and will be full of nice surprises. Most of all, i'm sincere I'm not looking for one nighters or friends with benifits. I want someone to share love and life with. ;-)

My man would be my angel. And how do we treat angels ? With respect and love. And like we really appreciate them.

I'm not into the niteclub scene and my life would appear boring, but I have fun and those around me do also. I don't have or want "drama".

I'm only here to find my partner, than i'm done with online chat. I want someone attractive and healthy but not perfect, and if you have kids... great !

Either way " I want to have kids in my life also " I feel that I would be a great mother if the right person is willing to share that LIFETIME responsibility.

My group of friends is small by choice and there's room for another. If your heart is beating a bit faster now... it could be you. Anyways im presently in west africa, Nigeria for my job(work for an importing company as the sales rep. Sells and Exports African Fabircs (Atire), If you've got a Y! IM to communicate, you can as well just put my first and last name together you'll get my IM id.tobyjhonson at yahoo or goldenheart09 at

hope to hear from you. Looking forward to findout the chemistry between us ;) Ur #1 Fan, Toby.

Example #3

Hello, This is Angellina from Cowandilla in Australia ,i go through you profile its look nice and lovely. I am a sexy, loyal, and devoted woman who's looking for a man to please me.Someone to share personal moments with, enjoy life and to firmly hold the blessings of a lasting and undying happiness. I am willing to relocate to a secure foundation a steady relationship and to meet the terms,I'm a strong,sexy, smart, independent female with many goals and lots of drive. I like romantic evenings and bedroom talk. I'm a real woman looking for a real man,and i hope you will be the real man to me.If you're really interested you can e-mail me direct to this address or add me to your messager list.

Message #4

This how it happened 10yrs ago my father died in Tribble car accident and before then i was doing fine had a good job and my own place which i gave up because we had to sell the family house because there was a big mortgage on it,my sister had her own problems at the time and she has her own place and family so i couldnt leave my mother on her own so we rented a house together,we where both doing fine then b4 she had a cancer and died when i could not get money.some days afther i heard a friend of my who lives in nigeria she has an accident and she was in the hospital i have to move there to see her health when i arrive there i lost the hospital address and it night and i can't get flight at night cos it too dangerous for me to go home at nigth i have to log in a hotel for me to go the next day in the midnight some mens came so they attack me and stole all my money goods i brought In the hotel and they ran away but they did not hurt me i try to explain things to the hotel but they will not believe me so they said all they need is there money so right now am stucked in a hotel in nigeria and all i now to come back home is to pay the hotel bill and i will be glad if you can.

What to watch for if you still aren’t sure after the initial message.

After the initial contact, if you still decide to respond, this is a list of things to watch for after communications with the scammer started, either by way of text chat, on-site messages, or emails.

-- They quickly declare that they have fallen in love with you and insist that you have made a huge change in their lives.

-- They would normally say they live or were born in USA, UK, Australia but have to go overseas to work in Ghana, Nigeria, or somewhere in Africa. But they will be coming home soon.

-- They will spill their guts to you about how unfortunate they've been. The stories are always similar and play on your sympathies. One example is that they say they are widowed and their spouse and children were killed in an accident. They eventually tell you that they need some kind of help. Generally that help comes down to help with money. If this person was standing in front of you face to face, would you accept what they had to say?

-- Most scammers are from Africa or Russia, the scammers may misuse some terms that are obviously wrong. For example, in a chat during the day, a scammer who claimed to be in Brisbane and he kept saying "night" continuously.

-- Scammers will normally claim they don't visit the dating site often and request you to contact them directly via their email address or add them directly to your Instant Messenger.

Members’ ages

The ages for female scammers normally span from 25 to 30 and they always try to target male dating members who are between 40 and 60 years of age because this age group is normally financially secure.

The ages for male scammers normally span from 40 to 50 and they always try to target female dating members who are between 40 and 60 years of age.

Members’  photos

Most of the female scammers profiles use photos stolen from modeling websites, so the photos look neat and are very professionally taken.

Many male scammers use photos that appear to be everyday snaps. Scammers from African countries will send a passport-like photo of themselves. It will be very grainy and somewhat aged.

English grammar and spelling

Grammar and spelling errors are normally everywhere in a scammer's message. You can easily spot it, especially when the scammer’s profile indicates he/she has good education background such as Masters degree.

What to do if you have become victim of online dating scams

If you think it is a scam, it probably is. The red flags are always there. Anyone asking for money online, when you have never met them in person, is almost certainly a scammer. Don't fall for it. Please help us identify any such scammers by reporting their profile and/or contacting u