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By Aaron Smith and Monica Anderson. Digital technology and smartphones in particular have transformed many aspects of our society, including how people seek out and establish romantic relationships. When we first studied online dating habits inmost Americans had little exposure to online dating or to the people who used it, and they tended to view it as a subpar way of meeting people.

Today, nearly half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a spouse or partner via online dating — and attitudes toward online dating have grown progressively more positive. Online dating use among to year-olds has also risen substantially since the last Pew Research Center survey on the topic. One factor behind the substantial growth among younger adults is their use of mobile dating apps. But it still means that one-third of online daters have not yet met up in real life with someone they initially www person com dating site on an online dating site.

Many online daters enlist their friends in an effort to put their best digital foot forward. Despite the wealth of digital tools that allow people to search for potential partners, and even as one-in-ten Americans are now using one of the many online dating platforms, the vast majority of relationships still begin offline.

How American Couples Use Technology. Aaron Smith is an associate director for research at Pew Research Center. Monica Anderson is a research associate focusing on internet teligence dating technology at Pew Research Center. About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.

It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Fact Tank - Our Lives in Numbers. Here are five facts about online dating: This post was originally published on April 20,and has been updated.

Online Dating Share this link:. Related Fact Tank Feb 11, Fact Tank Oct 21,

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This wikiHow teaches you how to avoid being scammed on dating sites. Online dating scammers tend to target people who have a large amount of information in their profiles, and the scam is usually based around stealing money, credit card information, or personal information from the victim.

Understand the driving principles behind scamming techniques. Scammers typically try to find people who seem vulnerable e.

Once a scammer makes a connection with a victim, they will request money for an emergency e. You can avoid the bulk of online dating scams by establishing a hard rule about not sending money to anyone you haven't met in person. Know that anyone can fall victim to a scam. While middle-aged widowers have traditionally been targets for online fraud, no online dating user is exempt from being targeted by scams on an international scale.

Look for typical scammer behavior. While no two scammers are identical, nearly all dating scammers will exhibit several of the following behaviors: Review the person's profile. Common scammer profiles are modeled differently depending on whether they are male or female, but you'll usually see several of the following attributes if the person is a scammer: Note any age difference in which you are the older one.

Online dating scammers usually target people older than themselves. Check their photo for duplicates. Save a copy of their profile photo, then upload it to Google to search for other instances of it. If you see several other sites with the photo pop up in the results, then you know that—at the very least—they're not using their own photo. If you do determine that they're not using their own photo, consider calling them out. This may reveal more suspicious behavior.

Look closely at their side of the conversation. When communicating, scammers' messages will be full of inconsistencies, often getting their own name or your name wrong. These messages may be badly written or repeat themselves. Watch for these other signs: Their command of language deteriorates with time.

They may even start out having no clue about grammar or punctuation. They make mistakes in that their "story" begins to contradict itself. Alternatively, they never provide any personal details about themselves. They mention things that seem entirely unrelated to the profile they've built up of themselves, or that seem too revealing and even unbelievable. Ask them to meet up. Scammers will never meet you in person, and they will usually express reluctance to do so when asked. If the person with whom you're talking either outright refuses to meet you or bails on your plans multiple times in a row, they're most likely a scammer.

Alternatively, the person may ask you to pay for their ticket or means of transportation. Ask to contact the person via video or voice chat. If the person isn't willing to meet up, consider asking if you can contact them at their number never your own or via a voice- or video-chat app such as Skype.

If they agree to this, pay attention to their tone and use of language; if their demeanor seems to contradict what you know about them, it's best to walk away. Again, if the person outright refuses to talk to you over an audio or video connection, they're most likely a scammer.

Watch out for the catch. When scammers think they have you on their hook, they attempt to reel you in. This is usually when they will "agree" to meet up or talk to you, but their plans to do so will usually be interrupted by a financial emergency.

As a general rule, if the person to whom you're talking asks for money in any context, they're a scammer. Don't fall for phrases like "For this to work, we both have to trust each other" or "I thought you loved me"; this is a form of emotional manipulation. Keep your profile as private as possible. One of the first steps in making your profile scammer-proof is limiting the amount of information they can see. Most services require you to display your age, a description, and a picture.

Outside of those items, you should keep the rest of your profile blank. Scammers require quite a bit of information about you before they can attempt to reel you in, so limiting their leverage from the start decreases your odds of being targeted. Don't give potential scammers leverage over you. As such, avoid sending messages that reveal who you are, at least at first.

Avoid sending photos or videos that show friends or family, or that give away your location. Keep your discussions on the dating site. If you're using a dating site that has a built-in chat option as most do , your safest bet is to keep your conversations with the other person limited to the dating site's chat.

If the other person suggests moving to email or texting, decline. This will usually allow your selected dating site to review the contents of your messages if you decide to report the other person as a scammer. Keeping discussions within the dating service will also allow you to block the person later if needed without having to block them in your email or on your phone as well. Avoid giving out your real phone number. If you must move the conversation over to your smartphone, don't tell the other person your number.

This doesn't mean that you have to give someone a fake number; there are plenty of free mobile instant messaging services—WhatsApp, Skype, Google Voice , and Facebook Messenger are only a few examples—that can be used to message someone freely without having to compromise your real phone number.

If the person to whom you're talking refuses to use any mode of conversation except your phone number, there's a decent chance that they're more interested in the number than in the conversation.

Document your interactions with the person. If you suspect that the person with whom you're conversing is attempting to scam you, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that you have evidence against them: Refrain from deleting conversations or other forms of communication. Take screenshots of the conversations.

Stop talking to the person if need be. There's nothing wrong with cutting off contact with someone, especially if you think that they might be a scammer. If you have a bad feeling after interacting with a person online, you don't owe them your time. Many dating sites will allow you to block the person to whom you're talking. As long as they don't have your email address or phone number, doing this will prevent them from being able to contact you at all. If the person becomes unreasonably outraged or sends threats your way, be sure to take screenshots and report the person's profile to the dating service.

Report scams to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Naturally, you should also report the scammer to the site on which you were scammed. What should I do if a man asks for my full name and address so he can send me gifts from overseas? That is too much information for someone you don't know. Not Helpful 12 Helpful How can I know if people are scammers online? Pay careful attention to whether there are any inconsistencies in their stories.

Also, beware of anyone who addresses you with "Dear Not Helpful 22 Helpful My online suitor for eight months would like to transfer his account from another country to my account. It's a big amount. I haven't met the guy before. I don't believe he could easily trust me since we met only online. Is there a sign of fraud in this? He would need your account info. Once he has that, he can withdraw money from your account.

Have him open an account with your bank, and transfer the money to that account. Once that is done, and in time, he can add you to that account. Once you see that all is good, then you could have him transfer it to your account, but I would encourage you to keep separate bank accounts, just in case things don't work out.

My gut though, is telling me he is a very patient scammer. Not Helpful 16 Helpful Should I trust my gut when speaking to a someone through an online dating service? You shouldn't trust anybody online until you have met them in person. This is especially for dating sites. Not Helpful 30 Helpful I have a friend that uses a dating site and the women he's speaking to lied about their age. Now apparently her father is making threats to him unless he sends money via Western Union. The phone number is on the other side of the states and she is threatening to get the law is involved.

What should he do? He should report this threat to the site and see what they do. Then, it's best to get him to tell police or another family member on the issue because he is a victim of extortion.

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