How to protect yourself from romance scams

We’ve all heard the stories. Dating scams hit the headlines on a depressingly regular basis, highlighting heartless attempts to trick targets into parting with large sums of money. When attempts to scam targets are successful, they leave behind a trail of heartbreak and debt as the criminal disappears into thin air.

While it can feel like it is all something that happens to other people, experts are keen to point out that everybody who dates online needs to be aware of warning signs that you are being scammed. This is because attempts to dupe people can be sophisticated and they rely on strong emotions to trick their targets, making it hard to discern what is a genuine interest in getting to know you better and what is an attempt to deceive you.

Dating scams can play out over a long period of time, as scammers go to great lengths to gain somebody’s trust and convince them they are in a real relationship. Scammers are experts at impersonating people, convincing you they are something they are not, and they do their research before approaching you to make sure they are convincing. They may seem like the perfect partner, but they have used a fake profile to form a relationship with you. While it seems like you have a loving and caring relationship, their intentions have only ever been to take your money or personal information.

Requests for money can come when the victim is fully entrenched in what they think is a loving relationship. The scammer will often use highly emotive requests, claiming they need help with affording time-critical emergency medical care or to pay for transport from overseas so they can visit the victim. Reports made to Action Fraud reveal that £50,766,602 was lost to romance fraud in 2018 – an average of £11,145 per victim and a 27% increase on the previous year.

While this all sounds scary, there are some key warning signs to watch out for and plenty of tips which will help protect you if you are searching for love online.

  • Watch out for people who make excuses for why they can’t video chat or meet in person. They might attempt to move your conversations away from the online dating platform you met on, as they know legitimate apps can be monitored – so be wary of anyone’s attempts to switch your conversations to email, text, or the phone.
  • They may invent a job role which means they are overseas for long periods of time – perhaps in the military or the medical profession – so you aren’t suspicious about why it has been impossible to meet face-to-face.
  • Their profile may boast glamourous pictures which may in reality be stolen from an actor or model. They may also use stock images or photos copied from other people’s profiles. Do your research and try a reverse image search to find if the photos have come from somewhere else. You can also Google their name, any phrases they use repeatedly and the term ‘dating scam’ to see if anything comes up.
  • The scammer may urge you to keep the relationship private, so be very wary of anybody who asks you not to tell others about them. It pays to keep friends and family in the loop about the people you have been chatting to as they have your best interests at heart and will call out any suspicious behaviour.
  • Be aware that criminals often try and rush or panic you into giving them money – they may get defensive if you decline to help.
  • Don’t hand over any copies of personal documents such as passports and driving licences. Never give out bank details, send them money or take out a loan on their behalf. Another red flag is when somebody pitches you an ‘easy investment opportunity’.
  • The shame and stigma around romance fraud mean many don’t report it – don’t be ashamed if you do fall victim. Alert your bank and Action Fraud immediately.

Putting yourself out there in the dating world can be scary at the best of times so it is perfectly natural to worry if the people you are speaking to have honourable intentions. Working with a matchmaker can be the ideal solution to protecting yourself when you are looking for love. Here at Ignite Dating our matchmakers will ensure the person you are meeting is genuine, interviewing them face-to-face to make sure they are who they say they are. We also ID and digital footprint check everyone we work with. Having a third party involved every step of the way gives you plenty of peace of mind and confidence on your dating journey, leaving you feeling energised, safe and ready to enjoy some great dates with truly amazing people.

Your dedicated matchmaker is with you every step of the way, working closely with you to understand the characteristics and values that are important to you. Our experienced matchmaking team brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to make your dating journey as streamlined and enjoyable as possible. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you!


Should you be wary of an office romance?

Whether it is a coy look across the break room, or a flirtation at the office Christmas party, it is commonplace for romance to blossom in the workplace. Recent data from YouGov shows that 18% of Brits found their current or most recent partner at work. However, there can be complications that arise when a colleague catches your eye. So, what should you bear in mind if you are hoping to date a co-worker who you have romantic feelings for?

You can find yourself drawn towards somebody you work with for a number of reasons. You already have something in common in the job you do, and it’s natural to gravitate towards like-minded people with similar backgrounds. You already know much more about this person and their lifestyle compared with a stranger you met on an app or during a night out. Recent data shows even the pandemic failed to stop workplace romances in their tracks, discovering they may have even increased as employees were looking for a connection when they were forced to work from home. Romance still blossomed, even if the only way people could stay in touch was via video calls and messaging apps.

Many consider it to be important to consider the power balance that may come into play with an office romance. Co-workers dating is often viewed as a very different situation to a hierarchical workplace relationship between a manager and somebody who reports to them. It is often viewed as important to report a relationship with a power imbalance to the HR department or a line manager, so they are aware of what’s going on. Some organisations in the US even have ‘love contracts’ to keep office romances in check, requiring both dating parties to sign to state the relationship is consensual and they are aware of company policies on sexual harassment and workplace ethics.

If you are dating a peer, issues can arise with your fellow co-workers when they suss out what has been going on. They may feel uncomfortable if your relationship is overtly on display, plus they may feel you are no longer efficiently working as a team if you favour each other’s contributions at every meeting. It can help to leave your romance firmly outside of the workplace by not sitting together in meetings and avoiding eating lunch together every day. Public displays of affection at work are a big no-no, as are screaming rows.

Fears of being judged leave many couples deciding to keep their relationship a secret from colleagues, which can also breed resentment if other team members suspect something is going on between the two of you. You can face gossip If you’re the lower status person in a relationship with your manager. There may also be career roadblocks to contend with if you are overlooked for promotion and training opportunities due to fears you will be seen as being favoured unfairly.

Sadly, relationships do come to an end and there’s the issue of how handle your working relationship if you’ve parted ways. Even if you’ve only shared a few dates, it can be awkward to have to face each other every day if romance did not blossom. If it is tough to work together after a painful split, it may be possible to request a transfer to another team or location. You may even decide to leave your role for another job, potentially having to say goodbye to a position you loved. If the relationship endures then you might consider it sensible for one of you to pursue a new role to separate your work and love lives. Office romances will always be part of life, the key is managing them correctly, so your careers and budding relationships are not negatively impacted. Be aware of the etiquette about making a relationship work when you both spend the day in close proximity and be mindful of how colleagues may feel about the pairing. Meeting somebody special is always exciting and it’s imperative you manage the work implications to ensure you have the best chance of making it work in the long run.

If you are looking for somebody new, why not turn to the experts for a helping hand? Our matchmakers use intuition, personality profiling and their extensive private networks to provide personalised introductions to some truly amazing people. Get in touch today to find out the next exciting steps!


Does a large age gap matter in a relationship?

It is a staple of many a gossip magazine story. From Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde to Amal and George Clooney, large age gaps in relationships often set tongues wagging.

The topic of age in relationships trigger many strong opinions – especially when it comes to an individual’s own dating preferences. However, it’s certainly not uncommon to find many couples consider age to be merely a number when it comes to settling down. In western countries around 8% of male-female couples have an age gap of 10 years or more. The gaps can be even larger than that, with an estimated 1% of heterosexual couples in the US having an age difference of 28 years or more.

Our online lifestyles mean the pool of people we socialise with has expanded more than ever, making it easier to interact across a range of different generations. While many point out there are advantages to dating somebody the same age as you because you’ll reach the same life milestones at a similar time, others point out the rulebook has been ripped up anyway. The way we approach our careers is so different to generations before us, and many are delaying having children to achieve other goals in their life. Despite all of this, it’s still common to find a lot of entrenched judgement attached to big age gaps. We’ve all heard the insults that are thrown about to describe those involved in them, including sugar daddy for an older man, or gold-digger for a much younger woman. There can be more stigma attached the larger the age gap involved.

So does age matter?

May-December romances, a term to describe a relationship between two people with a considerable age difference, can face challenges which other pairings may not. As we’ve touched upon, you may find friends, family and acquaintances are sceptical and may disapprove of the relationship, especially if the age gap is sizeable. This social pressure may bring difficulties to your relationship and may lessen your support network. However, it’s important not to let the opinions of others sway you if you’ve found somebody who you’ve genuinely fallen for.

Being at different life stages does sometimes presents an issue as you both age, especially if the older partner encounters serious illness or retires while the other is still working. One of you may be in a very different place professionally or financially, which means you’ll need to decide how you’ll manage your money to avoid any feelings of losing independence or being taken advantage of. There can sometimes be struggles in establishing common ground as you might not share similar interests, social circles, tastes, or frames of reference.

When it comes to dating somebody who is significantly older or younger than you, the initial stages of seeing each other can feel much like dating somebody your same age. However, as things get more serious, it pays to look at how things will pan out down the line. If you have different family situations, with one of you already having children, it’s important to consider how it will work if you do settle down together.

Making an age gap work

There’s not an exact science to determining whether an age gap relationship will be successful. Many find the increased self-awareness and care that goes into making the relationship work can help it endure and be successful. As with all healthy relationships, it takes both of you to put in the work to ensure you are both continue to be happy and satisfied. It can pay to focus on shared interests and be open and honest about any roadblocks which you can foresee becoming a problem so you can be prepared to work together to overcome these issues. The ability to compromise can be a big factor in an age gap relationship, especially when different life stages become more noticeable. What might not have seemed so important when you met might emerge into something more pertinent as you both move into different life stages.

It really does come down to a case-by-case situation with individuals, as age is just one part of the equation. When you have a successful relationship where you share similar values, aspirations, beliefs, and goals, and you are prepared to work through any problems that may arise, it will feel like age isn’t a barrier.  

So, considering age isn’t the be all, end all, why not be a little more open-minded? Many daters set a narrow age range on their profile, potentially ruling out plenty of amazing people. It’s important to remember age doesn’t determine who you are or what you want to do. Next time you are looking at a profile of a prospective match, try ignoring the age. Read about the person and recognise the commonalities that you have, and you might just be surprised how much you have in common. It could be the start of something truly amazing.  

Here at Ignite Dating we enjoy working with enthusiastic clients who are committed to finding a life partner with similar family values and outlooks on life. If you’ve decided it’s the right time to start a search for somebody new, then give our expert matchmaking team a call. We specialise in hand-selected matches with amazing people you’ll really share a connection with, helping you with a dating journey that’ll leave you feeling safe and energised.