‘On the couch’ with Jasminda

DEAR Jasminda,

HOW do I know if a social media friend request is legitimate?

Lately I have been getting quite a few requests and the people (particularly the men) look like people I’d love to get to know better, but I find it strange that they are seeking me out.

I live alone with my two dogs having recently moved to the area.

Wendy K.

Dear Wendy,

Unfortunately, there are many scammers out there who love to prey on vulnerable people.

It can be flattering to think that others want to join your circle of friends, but there are some very clear warning signs that you should be aware of, or else you may find that they weasel their way into your life and, potentially, your bank account.

The first thing to check is their location.

While you may love to know someone from Florida or Wisconsin, you have to ask yourself why, if they are living so far away, do they want to strike up a friendship.

Other major ‘alert and alarmed’ signs include men or women dressed in military uniforms, men who look like Dr Shepherd from Grey’s Anatomy (particularly if they have a stethoscope casually draped around their neck) and widowed men holding Maltese terriers with flexed biceps.

A quick scroll will reveal very little about them aside from the fact they love driving their Porsche on the weekends or sipping cocktails in the Bahamas.

Those are all cues that all is not as it seems and you’ve no doubt come into contact with a grifter.

Try Google Reverse Image to see if their photos match their ‘About’ information.

If they start sweet talking you, professing their love, or anything to do with transferring money, run for the hills.

It’s often better to try meeting local people by joining a community or sporting group.

Then what you get is what you see, even if it’s a sweaty dude named Ivan training for the local fun run.

Carpe diem,

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