| Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:26 pm
To be honest, if you're dumb enough to be scammed, then you really shouldn't be here. In fact you shouldn't be on the internet full stop. The world is full of weirdos and slimeballs, but you just have to keep your wits about you and take everything you read with a pinch of salt.
Personally, I tend to respond only to those who have a profile that really interests me and shows that the person in question is smart, funny, genuine etc. Of course you can't always be 100% sure that you will be able to identify a scammer, but if you refrain from allowing yourself to be won over with soppy sentiments and blarney, you should be ok.
I come here to make a few snail mail pen pals. I start off by exchanging messages with people who stand out from the others and if after a few exchanges they strike me as someone I can get along with, I then proceed with the exchanging of addresses for letter writing.
I make it very clear both in my profile and my initial introductions that I am not looking for a relationship, just friendship. If at any point there is even the slightest indication that the other party is going down that route, I give them one warning but if iti continues I end it. Simple as. If anyone asks for any money or help with anything that will cost me anything other than my time and advice, I end it.
Think of the people in here as people on the street. If someone walked up to you on the street, introduced themselves, exchanged pleasantries and then proceeded to ask you money, you would tell them where to get off. Don't be swayed by the platitudes and pleasantries people on here will fill your inbox with. They're all just strangers and you need to regard them as such.
I'm not saying you have to inherently distrust everyone from the get-go, but be wise; keep folk at arm's length and use your intuition. Be friendly, look for real common interests and connections and spend time getting to know people through emails and letters. Don't let your heart rule your head and don't be a fool thinking that everyone out there is genuine.
There ARE some really nice, interesting and genuine people on this site and if you're smart and patient, you'll find and get to know them. A scammer is only as successful as their victim is susceptible. They can only scam you if you let them.