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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Be extra careful with online dates

Marcy Sugar and Kathy Mitchell Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I am recently divorced from an abusive man after 25 years, and I decided to try online dating. The first site did no background checks and when I did a Google search on the photos of the men who approached me, I discovered they were not who they said they were. The second dating site verified my photo and account info, so I felt more secure. However, there are scam artists there, too. One of them drew me in, but after a month of texts and emails, I have come to realize he, too, just wants money. My heart is broken, but I know time will heal it.

Here are my words of wisdom for your readers who try online dating: These sites are rife with con artists. Make sure the site does background checks or verification of some kind. Do not give prospective suitors your email address. Communicate only through the site. Meet only in a public place and have a friend accompany you. If he keeps coming up with excuses to change the date, drop him. If he tells you he’s in love after one or two emails, drop him. He’s a phony. If he asks you for money, even a small amount, drop him. If he tells you he has to leave for an overseas trip and then needs money to get home, drop him.

I was so drawn in by this guy’s beautiful words and romancing that I let my heart rule my head. Warn others. – Know Better

Dear Know: Happy to. There have always been “romance” scams, but the Internet makes it easier. Entire industries exist to take advantage of lonely people, even on legitimate sites. There are ways to verify someone’s photo online – as well as those flowery, romantic statements – to see whether they are stolen from another source. No matter how wonderful someone seems, NEVER meet them in your home or theirs, or allow them to drive you somewhere. And NEVER send them money. Be careful.

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