In the modern world of dating, it’s all about apps. This means you can get to know people on your terms, and they fit in with your busy lifestyles. But as this form of dating has skyrocketed in popularity, so have dating app horror stories. We’re not just talking bad dates, but romance scams and catfishes.

Relationships on Female First

Relationships on Female First

A recent survey found 84% of 18-24-year-olds were the most willing to share personal information with people they know online (30% higher than the over 55s). So we’re here to give you a rundown of the seven dos and don’ts so you can avoid romance scams.

Do some social media snooping

If you’ve begun chatting with someone online, take the time to check out their social media profiles. It’s pretty much unheard of for someone not to have Facebook, but also search for their Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Some red flags are very few Facebook friends, pictures of only themselves, or only pictures which look overtly professional. Also check that if they’re with people in photos, they are tagged and these tags take you to other genuine accounts. If their online presence is inexplicably non-existent, consider moving on.

Don’t overshare

Feel like you’re under the spotlight? Is the person you’re speaking with asking a lot of personal questions? Like your first pet, date of birth, mother’s maiden name - these are potential security questions which could mean you’re putting yourself at risk.

Do hear their voice

If you’ve been speaking to someone for an extended period of time, and have planned a first date, have a phone call with them first. No one wants to jump on the phone straight away, but if you’re having doubts, it’s a good idea. You can hear their voice and it’ll give you an inclination of how the conversation will flow in person. If they consistently refuse to answer the phone, it could be a sign they’re not who they say they are.

Don’t be swayed by a sob story

A family member in trouble? A desperate need for a plane ticket? A tragic accident and hospital bills to pay? People can get very creative with a story to pull on your heartstrings in order to scam you out of your money, so stay smart and don’t fall for it. Never send anyone money or your bank details.

Do ask questions

Show an interest in who they are. Find out what they do, what their interests are, and where they grew up. Don’t bombard them with questions but find out more about them; if their answers are cohesive with their social profiles it will help grow your confidence that they are genuine.

Do keep yourself grounded

Whilst we all want to believe in soulmates, if you feel you’ve been swept off your feet too quickly or are just being told all the right things, stay vigilant. Being showered with compliments and affection by a successful entrepreneur with a jet who wants you to meet his twelve puppies that live in his mansion… rarely happens.

Do trust your gut

If you’ve got that niggling feeling something isn’t right, trust it. Speak with a close friend if you need that second perspective. Never let a desire for a relationship overthrow your intuition.

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