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How to Spot a Scam in the Online Catholic Dating World

Nov 17 2018 Avatar for Adrienne ThorneBy Adrienne Thorne
How to Spot a Scam in the Online Catholic Dating World

Most of us who are fairly literate in the general online landscape probably consider ourselves to be somewhat savvy, the type of person who would never fall for something like an online scam.

We get spam emails asking us to invest in some foreign get-rich-quick scheme, and we unhesitatingly move them to the junk folder.

Maybe our grandma calls us to ask if she should wire money to someone who seems like they’re in need.

No, grandma, you shouldn’t. The answer is obvious to us.

But when it comes to online dating, scams often hit a little closer to our deepest vulnerabilities. The unpleasant truth is that they can happen even in the Catholic online dating world.

It seems that the need to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” is as real here as it is in other areas of our interactions with the world.

Here are three things to keep in mind in Catholic online dating to make sure you don’t fall prey to a scam.

1. A scam can happen when you least expect it

curious woman

There is often a certain sense of security that comes from using a Catholic dating site. Hopefully, everyone here believes at least fundamentally the same things as you do. It’s comforting. Possibly too comforting.

Read more: Catholic Online Dating Vs. Non-Faith-Based Dating Services

Imagine a scammer looking to steal money from someone unsuspecting. It’s probably not too hard to figure out that users of Christian-based dating sites in particular will be looking to find the best in people and slower to suspect foul intentions.

In a way, this is our particular challenge as Christians and as Catholics. We don’t want to jump to premature conclusions about others. We should be striving to give the benefit of the doubt and think charitably towards others whenever we can in our everyday lives.

But that doesn’t mean we should suspend good sense.

2. Watch for the warning signs

shocked woman

It won’t always be obvious right away when you’re dealing with a scam. But, eventually they’ll ask for money, or possibly some personal information, to steal your identity. If they’re good at the scam, though, they’ll first build up your trust.

Now this is where it can get tricky for us. We don’t want to be overly suspicious of others, generally speaking. But if the person you’re messaging is a scammer, they’ll probably do something to let you in on it, if you’re paying attention.

Do they jump to strong professions of affection way faster than seems normal?

It’s flattering and ego-boosting to assume these professions are genuine. But take a realistic look at whether this person might be trying to get you emotionally attached in a big hurry.

Are they eager to move away from the dating site’s messaging platform right away?

There can be legitimate reasons to start messaging by phone or other means. But keep in mind that an over-eagerness to get away from the original site you connected on could be because they don’t want you to think to report their suspicious activity and get them kicked off the site.

Other things to watch for are inconsistencies in their background – either they mess up the details they’ve already told you, or perhaps the things they’ve told you aren’t the same as what their social media profiles say.

3. Don’t let yourself be fooled by a scam

online dating

Just because you strive to be charitable toward others and want to assume the best, that doesn’t mean you should let yourself be duped.

Be safe and take precaution, even if it feels a little paranoid.

Don’t hesitate to do a little online stalking of the person you’re communicating with. We online-stalk plenty of other people we’re curious about, right? So we might as well find out all we can about this person we’re interested in pursuing romantically.

If you have any suspicions at all about the person, perhaps go a little farther. Search for their profile image elsewhere online, to make sure it’s not a pic that a scammer has stolen from someone else.

If something feels just a bit off, trust your gut. Try talking the scenario out with a friend, and they might be able to help you put your finger on just what it is that’s not right here.

Never send money impulsively to someone, or agree to cooperate in some kind of money transfer situation.

Most likely, if a scammer has gotten to the point where they think it’s a good time to ask you for money, they’ve worked hard to build your trust and to make you feel like you’re on the way to marrying them.

If you feel inclined to believe a request for money is legit, again try running the whole thing past a friend for some feedback, lest you let your emotions get you in trouble.

It’s hard to find a balance between legitimate prudence and paranoia when it comes to matters like these.

But remember that being on your guard against cons doesn’t make you jaded or uncharitable. It’s merely self-preservation in our fallen world.

Avatar for Adrienne Thorne

Adrienne Thorne is a Catholic wife, mother, screenwriter, and blogger, as well as author of the Catholic YA romance novel SYDNEY AND CALVIN HAVE A BABY. She blogs about TV and Movies from Catholic perspective at Thorne in the Flesh: A Faithful Catholic's Guide to Netflix, Hulu, and More.

    Marcella
    18 Nov 2018
    1:51pm

    And always beware of someone who continually has excuses for not meeting in person. In a “SAFE “ public location, such as a Coffee shop! If they continually put off a face to face meeting, something might not be right.

    James Sielicki
    18 Nov 2018
    5:52pm

    Hmmm, I just finished reading the article on online dating scams, and a banner came up promoting trying Catholic Singles.com for FREE. I clicked on it and was directed to another ad promoting a FLASH SALE: 50% off t shirts!!!!!! Didn’t I just read an article about online scams???? THE ULTIMATE IRONY!!!!!!!!

      Mark
      19 Nov 2018
      10:16am

      Hi James – it sounds like you have a virus on your computer…

        James Sielicki
        20 Nov 2018
        8:04am

        I have PC Matic which eliminates viruses….however, I clicked on the FREE offer this morning was was directed to a CS form to fill out for the profile……!! 🙂

    tina
    18 Nov 2018
    6:14pm

    There is an Interned site Male (Female) scammers with thousands of names and pictures and profiles…and this is only the tip of an iceberg…because so many scammed people are ashamed to go to the police or otherwise to report scammers..

    To recognize a scammer is not easy…but the following may help:
    a) poor English or obviously sweet heart captivating messages copied from Internet together with suspicious and not too many photos…
    b) a reluctance to meet in a public place even after a few mail exchanges…a scammer would always try not to be indentified, an honest person will volunteer, meeting in person in a public place, nothing to lose but gain…
    c) do not favor much telephone calls, again whose calls? however, based on your telephone number, a scammer can buy all the info about you on Internet and work on you based on it…there are now dozens of companies who are extremely profitable, selling the information about you that either stole or bought cheap from other companies, including banks, hospitals…never write any reviews on Internet…they are constructed to squeeze any info from you and sell it…the same for telephone calls asking various questions about xy services and products…
    d) no doubt that at one point, even the most sophisticated scammer will come out from his den…the money…under various pretexts…and this would be for you that moment to stop communicating and report the scammer to the police…yes, there have been people, mostly men who are now sitting in prison for scamming other people, many people, not primitive people, on various dating site…
    e) paid dating sites can do more…they have credit card numbers…they can verify the info provided by their users…do they do this…no…they are money mills…do not care…unless something tragic happens…as it was with the former Craig list…and the US adopted laws making some dating criminal offences…
    f) so…you are on your own, pray to God to protect and guide you…you really need it…to be safe and eventually happy…

      Chinelo
      19 Nov 2018
      1:28pm

      That’s just true Tina, GOD bless.

    Chinelo
    19 Nov 2018
    1:31pm

    That’s true Tina, the watchword is prayer and vigilance. GOD bless you,

    Kevin britton
    20 Nov 2018
    6:22am

    Another common scam is when a person asks for help to pay for travel expenses, some may be genuine but the majority are only interested in the money.
    There are a number of ways this scam cam be used:
    a/ They will book a flight to your country give you the booking ref then a day or two later something will arise where they can no longer afford the remaining cost and will ask to have cash transferred to them via Western Union or something similar
    b/ The agent being used has added commission or found addition costs and will take payment via credit card, please email details to…. or call…..
    c/ The flight has been fully paid for but at the airport immigration has asked for an additional fee please send money

    Never send cash regardless the circumstances, always ask for details of how the flight was booked, contact the airport to see if you can pay them direct using a credit card and not a debit card, never send credit card details via email and never give these details to a third party over the phone.
    Scammers will always look for ways to transfer cash in ways that are more or less untraceable which is why the bulk of them use venders like Western Union, these people rarely take credit card payments as they know this can be traced.
    Lastly if anybody reading this feels compelled to pay for a persons tavel expenses make sure the person cannot cancel and get a full refund or transfer the flight to a different person.

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