No one ever expects to be the victim of an online dating scam. However, according to a Consumer Reports 2016 Online Dating Survey of over 114,000 online daters, 12 percent said they were scammed, while 35 percent felt misled by someone’s online dating profile.
In fact, according to the FBI, both the number of victims and the financial losses resulting from online dating scams have nearly quadrupled in the last five years.
If you have ever thought, “I could never be the victim of an online dating scam," think again. Like phone scams, these “romance” scammers are relentless. Anyone can become a victim.
However, there are certain traits that can predict one’s likeliness of being victimized. New research found that most victims of online dating scams possess one or more of the following seven traits:
It’s common for online dating scammers to use fear tactics to get their victims to do something.
One might ask you to send money for his sick daughter, or tell you he was wrongly arrested and needs bail money.
This explains why many people who are impulsive, and therefore most willing to give into a scammer’s requests without a second-thought, become victimized.
2. Trust In Others
Trust is delicate. It takes time to develop.
But those who tend to trust others too quickly can easily become the victims of online dating scams.
Without taking the time to learn about the background of the other person or what this person’s motives are, a trusting online dater takes the scammer’s word as truth.
These scammers are skilled at playing a role and getting others to fall for their lies.
3. Addictive Personality
The researchers of this study discovered that individuals with measures of addiction, who also realized they were getting scammed, found it difficult to “walk away” from the scammer.
Even though they knew they were getting scammed, these people were caught up in the process game like a gambler at a poker table.
Online daters with addictive personalities should stay vigilant.
You might think that kind people are the ones who get victimized by these “romance” scams, but the study found that in fact being an unkind person makes one more likely to be a victim.
Researchers believe this could be because unkind people tend to have fewer friends and close relationships.
And since the scammer pretends to be a real person, who is interested in a real relationship with his or her victim, the online dater puts focus and energy into this fake relationship and falls prey as a result.
Age is another factor.
Of the participants surveyed in this study, 63 percent of victims were ages 35-54.
Being a woman means you’re more likely to fall victim to an online dating scam.
60 percent of the victims of this study were women, while 40 percent were men.
But don’t think for a second that just because you’re a man, you can’t get swept up in an online dating scam. As we’ve warned before, online dating crime impacts men, too.
The better educated you are, the more likely you are to be an online dating scam victim.
Previous research suggested that those who are overconfident are likely victims because this trait made them more vulnerable. And an overconfident person might think he or she can easily differentiate between between who is a scammer and who is a real person looking for love.
Well, it turns out that’s not the case. This goes to prove how sneaky these scammers really are.
Do Your Research
Despite certain traits making some more likely to be victimized than others, online dating scams can happen to anyone. Before thinking you’ve found a wonderful person online, do your research.
Look at social media profiles, search engine results and run your own personal background check. Just remember that no one method of screening is foolproof. You should never trust anyone you meet online until your trust is earned.