COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Looking for love, Patsy Roach ventured into world of online dating, creating a profile on Match.com.
“Within five minutes of my profile being done, I got a message,” said Patsy.
That message was from a man who claimed to be in the military, stationed overseas.
After several email exchanges, and thinking she found the real deal, Patsy told her coworker about the budding relationship.
“She goes, ‘Is he in the army?’ And I go, ‘Yea.’ She said, ‘He’s a scammer.’ Well, I didn’t know anything about this.”
So, Patsy did a little digging.
“I Googled his picture, and his picture came up as a scammer. And it freaked me out a little bit. I got kind of scared.”
But Patsy took action immediately.
“I sent him an email. I said, ‘I saw your picture online. You’re a scammer. Don’t ever contact me again.’ And then I blocked him,” said Patsy.
And that’s exactly what she should have done, according to romance scam expert, and President of SocialCatfish.com, David McClellan.
He said Patsy is one of the lucky ones, who became aware of the scam, before getting scammed.
“Usually, the scammers are overseas, and they need money for something,” said McClellan. “What they’re trying to do is either get gift cards, or Bitcoin or wire transfer money, or send them gifts. That’s always a red flag.”
Some other red flags to watch for when you’re chatting with someone online:
- if they’re overly sweet; confessing love quickly.
- moving too fast in the relationship.
- or if they don’t want to video chat.
“Make sure you’re having a real conversation, even if you’re on video, and ask questions, and make sure you’re getting those responses back,” said McClellan.
And make sure you don’t give money, don’t give personal information, and don’t develop a relationship with someone who isn’t willing to meet you face-to-face.
“The internet’s the wild, wild west,” said McClellan. “And we don’t educate people enough on this topic. And with education, it’s going to slow things down dramatically.”