Don’t fall prey to online dating scams

A newlywed couple placed an ad to purposely lure and kill a man, any man. Maria Coder, author of InvestiDate: How to Investigate Your Date, has some tips for how singles can prevent themselves from falling prey to dating scams.




  • Post a Control Post: If dating on a site where you post an ad, always post two: your real ad and a CONTROL POST.  An ad for your alter ego – still be honest but filter responses to both ads and check you’re getting the same info for each advertisement from people who respond. If s/he’s a doctor in one email response that person should have the same response when they email you in another. The photos should appear to be of the same person too.
  • Make a Date-A-Base: Use one email address for all your dates. Share the password with two trusted friends and keep all info related to your dates here so that if something does go amiss your friends know where to look quickly and can summons for help right away.
  • Spydial It: Go to, to check if your date sounds in the age range she says s/he’s in. If you want to date someone 15-years older than you, that’s cool. But if you don’t, check if s/he’s lying by typing in her cell phone number at SpyDialer. You’ll instantly dial into her /his outgoing voicemail message and hear her voice.
  • Revise Records: If s/he pops up on that’s not a good sign; you’ll find registered sex offenders there. If you’re unsure of her /his name, search by zip code and click, click, click to see if the photos match the sweet talker.
  • Verify the Photo: Too good-looking to be true? Maybe. Find out by running the image across Google image search to see where else this image may appear. There’s a chance it’s a fake profile (hey, one in ten online dating profiles are fake) or a real photo… of someone else.
  • Many more tips available… also, please remember the obvious: always meet in a public place, don’t get into anybody’s car, and don’t loan any money.


Maria Coder is a former reporter turned online dating safety expert. She is the author of InvestiDate: How to Investigate Your Date and teaches workshops on the subject (Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing 101 and Are You Dating an A*S?) She’s appeared on The TODAY Show, Katie Couric, Steve Harvey, and countless other television segments, as well as international radio (Latina, she’s fluent in Spanish), magazines, websites, and daily newspapers.


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