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Online Dating Sites - What are the Scams to be Aware of? Don't be Suckered by the Scam Artists

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This entry was posted on 7/6/2006 12:30 AM and is filed under Dating,sex,Relationships,love.

I was recently asked to review a large number of Internet dating sites that are available to us via the virtual world. As you’re probably already aware, the whole online dating market has absolutely exploded in the last five years, new dating sites are springing up every day and all promising to cater for every possible niche going. Seriously, have a look yourself, no matter what you’re into, I’m pretty sure that you will find a dedicated dating site, offering you no strings relationships or the introduction to the person of your dreams.

As part of my review process, I decided to sign up to a few of the sites. Some I took out the pay for membership, others I took advantage of the free membership offer. It is in the area of free membership that I first started to get suspicious of online dating sites, I‘m convinced I have uncovered a scam. Let me explain how it works, please take note of this. If you’re using online dating sites, this advice could save you time, effort and more importantly money.

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Almost all Internet dating sites offer a free membership, this usually provides the new member with the ability to browse, search and upload a profile. As part of the profile, there are specific questions that you will need to answer. For example, who you are, what you’re looking for and where you live. Once you have completed the profile, it is launched and is live and available for others to browse.

If other users choose to, they can contact you via the dating site’s messaging system. The message will arrive to the email you used to sign up. The first time I did this, I took time and effort with my profile and took advantage of the service as though I was a genuine user, after all I was being paid to write a review. Within a few hours, I was amazed to receive several messages from other members, offering to meet, chat and sometimes more. At first I was absolutely delighted, the profile worked, I was in business!

I decided to reply to one of the messages, I clicked the link in the email and was taken to a page that requested I pay to join their service before I was able to respond. I read through the email again and decided that I was keen to continue the email conversation. So in this case I was happy to pay the monthly joining fee, upon doing so I responded to the email.

A few days later I had not received a reply, so I decided to respond to the other messages I had received. Strangely, the same thing happened, no response. Not too worry, I put it down to experience and thought no more of it. I carried on with my project, taking advantage of the free memberships on a number of different sites. The only difference being that I took less and less time with regards to the profile, in most cases writing the bare minimum and leaving the rest blank.

You can imagine my surprise when I started to get email messages in response to the various profiles I had submitted. Bare in mind that these profiles had zero information on them, yet I was receiving all manner of exotic, interesting and often tempting messages from other so called “members”. Then I started to spot the trend, in order to respond to these so called members I had to join the site, that meant I had to spend money. Of course, based upon my experience with the earlier site, I already knew that these ghost profiles were there simply to tempt me to part with my cash.

I decided to try the free membership of another ten well known sites, each time the same thing happened. The most attractive person, with a great picture would offer all sorts of goodies if I simply responded to them. The first email was almost like clockwork, so I started to think that it must be quite easy to set up my own dating site. I did further research and found that an online dating script is available for peanuts if you look in the right places. This meant that all I would need was a domain name and a hosting account to be in the dating business.

How’s that for a scary thought? I could spend time or pay others to submit their profiles, find a few attractive pictures of people and then advertise my site. My suggestion is that this has been happening for sometime, and it is time people were made aware of it. How do you counter it? My suggestion is to stick to the well known sites, the brands that you can trust and who spend money on advertising outside of the Internet.

Charlotte Alice represents Xsitepro templates.

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