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While the British scammer mentioned in the introduction to this article met his victims in person, most scammers will avoid face-to-face meetings at all costs.

Even if they say they live near you, they’ll say they’re out of town and won’t be able to meet. However, repeated excuses at the last minute are a definite warning sign.

They might also say that they live near you, but that they’re away; they could be in another country on a trip or for work, but they’ll almost certainly be somewhere far away where you can’t meet them.

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Here are six things to keep in mind to help you spot and avoid scammers on online dating sites.

Anyone can be the target and victim of these scams—men, women, young, old, gay, straight, white, black, Asian, Hispanic… But the FBI states that women who are “over 40, divorced, widowed, and/or disabled” are prime targets for scammers.

If someone was expressing over-the-top love and passion within a couple weeks, you’d be worried.

Early on in a courting relationship, you’ll probably ask a lot of questions, even basic ones like “how tall are you? ” If the person you’re talking to is avoiding these basic questions, that should be a big red flag.

Of course, just because someone is younger doesn’t mean that they’re a scammer; it’s just something to keep in mind.

Scammers also often list themselves as widowed (especially with a child), self-employed, or working overseas.

People are often ashamed to come forward and admit that they’ve been duped.

It’s not a good feeling to have been taken advantage of, and a scheme that’s so obvious in hindsight is even harder to admit to. If you date online, take precautions to protect yourself.

In August, a British man was sent to jail after defrauding two women of over £300,000 (5,300) through online dating sites.

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