5 Online Dating Red Flags You Shouldn't Ignore

Follow these tips to stay safe online

Online dating has gone from something that was scoffed at to a popular platform for meeting people. There are dating sites that cater to niche audiences, such as FarmersOnly.com, as well mega-sites like Match.com, eHarmony, and Tinder.

Love it or hate it, online dating is here to stay. In this article, we focus on online dating red flags you shouldn't ignore in your quest for the perfect date.

Online dating

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Not Everyone is Really Looking For Love

Be aware, there are scammers out there. They take advantage of folks who are looking for love and will try to lure them away from dating sites and over to phishing sites and other nefarious enterprises.

Scammers employ technologies such as bots to do their dirty work and make it difficult to tell the real folks from the fake ones.

Red Flag #1: Not Answering Your Questions Directly

A lot of scammers use bots (programs that mimic human interactions) to con users into visiting dangerous sites or divulging personal information. The problem is, bots don't think. And, bots don't interact well, except for some of the robust chatterbots.

When you ask a bot a question, it may not give you a straight answer. It may look at keywords in your response and message you something relevant. Still, it won't be a direct answer. If the person you're talking to doesn't answer your questions directly, ask them (or it) something specific to see if it comes back with another generic response.

This helps you determine if you're dealing with a bot or a scammer who doesn't want to put in the effort required to carry on a conversation.

Red Flag #2: Trying to Move You Off of the Dating Site

A scammer's goal is to get you off the dating site and onto their site so they can take what they want from you, whether it's your credit card information, personal information, or something else. Expect them to direct you to a website, phone number, or e-mail address of their choosing. They usually do this in the first five messages.

They may waste a little time building a rapport with you, but eventually, they show their true intention and close the deal by enticing you to click a link or contact them offsite. This is not to say that everyone who tries to give you their phone number is a scammer, but it is a red flag and should put you on alert to look for other signs of danger.

Red Flag #3 - Wanting to Know Your Location

No one should ask for your address upfront. This could be part of a phishing scam or something worse. Until you get to know someone, never give out your location. When you agree to meet, neutral public locations with a lot of people are best for meeting someone new. Always tell a friend what your plans are and if your plans change.

Red Flag #4: Getting Too Personal Too Fast

If they ask deeply personal questions that seem out of context, they could be attempting to phish you for personal information that they could use for identity theft purposes. Don't give your birthdate to strangers. It's one of the critical pieces of information they need to set up an account in your name.

Red Flag #5: Thin or Generic Account Profiles

If the dating profile is weak and has little info other than a generic statement like the cliche "I love to laugh," it may be a red flag that they used canned cut-and-paste scam profile information. Check out some tips on how to spot a fake friend request, as many of the same tips apply in this situation.

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