Question: While I am not a paranoid person, I am reasonably cautious. It seems to me that the internet dating scene is fertile territory for the activities of scammers. I would vastly appreciate any words of wisdom in this regard.
I actually took most of this answer right from the Thai Love Links site because it is all very correct and appropriate. I added some of my own comments from experience and those relative to
Choose a website that allows you to remain anonymous to other users until you feel ready to provide your contact information.
Never include your personal contact information in your profile, especially telephone numbers, email, home address or your last name.
Only provide your contact info to another user when your instincts tell you this is someone you can trust.
Set up an email account just for online dating usage. This makes it easy to quarantine any unwanted mail.
Keep your passwords confidential and make sure they are not easy to guess.
Ask a lot of questions when communicating and be alert for inconsistencies or requests for money. Make notes if you are suspicious of anything.
If you are suspicious of a person or if someone asks you for money, use common sense and then report the situation if possible to the online service you’re using.
It is not possible to be 100% sure that all members of internet dating services will be honest and truthful in their dealings with other members. Be alert and use common sense when communicating with other members.
NEVER send money to anyone who you met online, but have not yet met in person. (I can say that I broke this rule. Golf and I met online in November and I sent her a small amount of money in February, about 1 month before we met in person. She didn’t ask, I offered because her sister needed help.)
Before you Meet
Find out as much as possible about the person you are communicating with before you meet them in person. Communicate extensively using email, instant messaging or chat prior to calling the other person. Do not disclose your phone number or personal contact information until you feel comfortable to do so. (Golf and I spent literally hours on the phone daily for months before we met. We also spent time on MSN chatting and sent hundreds of text messages) For phone cards I recommend using Comfi. They have a good variety and very competitive prices.
Try to request multiple photos of the person you are communicating with. Ask to see photos of the person in a variety of situations at different times in their life. This helps to ‘paint a picture’ of the person and can be useful to understand more about that person. (Golf and I each had dozens of photos of each other long before we met. Not just recent photo’s, but photo’s from throughout our lives).
When you do decide to meet face to face, pick a public place and tell a friend where you’re going. Let them know when you return from the date. Naturally this is difficult if you will be in
Take your time to get the know the person. Proceed one step at a time and at your own pace. There is no need to rush.
If dating a person located in a foreign country be aware of cultural differences and take the time to learn the culture and understand the other persons expectations about the relationship. Spend as much time together as is possible getting to know the person, don’t just rely on email and instant messaging. (Since you’re here at Thailand Musings I assume you’re already doing that).
Investing additional time to get to know the person before things get serious will help you to avoid costly mistakes.