Need help using the Ivory Towers site? Don't worry, we'll try to help you with any problems you might have. Make sure you've checked the following pages before getting in touch with us.
Your Safety on Ivory Towers
One of the questions we are often asked is: ‘How safe is online dating?’ and ‘How safe is Ivory Towers?’ Fortunately the vast majority of our members never encounter a situation where their safety is under threat.
Our team works hard to keep you safe on our site. It's something we care deeply about. At the same time, you need to do your bit to look after yourself, your friends and for the wider Ivory Towers community.
Just like crossing the road or meeting new people in any environment, including a Church or in the course of a job, it is usually very safe but it is necessary to take care and some precautions. If you take note of the warnings and advice on security, you should be fine.
It is rare to hear about any kind of violence or assault but most problems we hear about are:
- People being a nuisance and phoning or texting when you no longer wish to have contact
- People wanting financial advantage, identity, immigration, in short what we call “scammers”
What every Ivory Towers Member Needs to Know
Scammers, often described as Romance Scammers, are by far the most dangerous presence on Internet dating sites. Very simply, they are people both male and female who will try and build a relationship with you and then attempt to fraudulently obtain money from you.
Ivory Towers works very hard to detect and remove scammers and are generally successful, but we also ask our members to be vigilant and to report anything they feel is suspicious.
The basic rule is never ever send money to someone you haven't met in person - even if you feel you really know them - and speaking on the telephone or via messaging doesn't count as actually meeting somebody! And even if you have met them - sending them money is a very bad idea.
What We Do About Scammers
Well, we're not going to tell you the exact details because we don’t want the scammers to know! But here's an insight:
- We've developed our own automated systems to identify scammers and remove them from the site. Most scammers never make it onto the actual site. We catch several a day.
- We manually check every profile and photo for tell-tale signs. This knowledge feeds into our automated systems, which are continually adapting.
- If the odd one slips through the net then our members are very good at spotting and reporting them. Our dedicated team personally deal with these reports as a matter of urgency.
It's worth noting that not all dating sites try to get rid of scammers: some don't have the facilities to detect and remove them; free sites don't necessarily have the resources; and some sites even like scammers because they are active on the site and therefore are good for business!
How to Spot a Scammer
It's important to note that scammers change their story and tactics and are becoming smarter. Every person who has been scammed has bought into a believable story, so But here are some tell-tale signs to help you spot a scammer:
- The scammer claims to normally live in your country but is currently working abroad (or may be about to travel there), or serving in the army in Afghanistan or similar
- They may be widowed, and with a dependent, disabled or sick child
- Their profile or emails may contain poor English. However, sometimes the profile will be word perfect, because it has been copied, but emails will contradict this and be full of language mistakes. Often they will use the word “honest”, “trustworthy” or “Godfearing”.
- Their photo may look fake. It may look like a model shot, a stock photo or many use photos of American or British soldiers in uniform.
- They may mention a lucrative money making scheme, offering you the chance to make millions
- They immediately ask you to contact them via instant messaging (msn or yahoo), regular email (hotmail or yahoo) or Facebook (to avoid leaving evidence of their scamming to our site administrators)
- You may develop a friendship/relationship with a member over a few weeks or months and you may be completely convinced that the other member is genuine but often various attempts at speaking by telephone are avoided. Sometimes you will actually speak on the phone or skype but then meetings do not materialise
- you may receive a message from them detailing a sudden personal crisis or tragedy, such as a relative or friend being diagnosed with a deadly illness, was in an accident or is stranded with no money far from home. These messages will sometimes ask for money or simply invite you to help
- If in doubt, trust your instincts and ask us for a second opinion.
Scammer behaviour changes constantly and we do all we can to stay ahead of their advances. Remember to report anything suspicious to us such as profiles or messages you may receive. We've put reporting systems in place to make this easy for you. We will treat your communication with us confidentially. If you have any doubts or questions about scammers, please write to us. We will personally investigate every report.
More Advice on Scammers
If you think you've been contacted by a scammer:
- First and most important: Never give them money or your contact details
- Stop communicating with them immediately. They will try desperately to keep the conversation going. They will accuse you of letting them down. Block them.
- Let us know via the report this message link on the mailbox, the report this member link on the profile, or contact us and explain why you think he or she is a scammer. If they are scammers we can terminate their memberships and warn everybody they have been in contact with. If in doubt please report it.
- If they have given you their Facebook details, find out how many “real” looking friends they have. This acts as another way to get a hunch as to whether they are genuine.
- If you have been scammed, please tell us and the police. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed, but act to take control of the situation and to get protection and help.
The chances are, that if you are reading this far, you won’t get scammed – but do look out for your friends and if you see somebody suspicious on the site, report them to Ivory Towers.
There are literally hundreds of sites and TV programmes about romance scams and their victims - here are a few to look at:
- Wikipedia: A brief description of the issues but with some good links to articles
- RomanceScams.org: An excellent very detailed site that explains what scamming is, has pictures of scammers and assists people who have been scammed. If you read it all, you will be an expert.
- Action Fraud: the UK Government site for Internet Fraud
Advice on Communicating with other Members
Whether chatting online or meeting in person, here are some things to think about.
Do not divulge personal details too early
Information like your home address, place of work even your Facebook details and so on are best kept to yourself until you feel absolutely secure about sharing them. If your email address contains your full name or your surname, you might wish to consider setting up another email account which does not include your full name.
Remember there may also be things you can say about yourself which may enable people to find you elsewhere on the internet, find out where you work or which Church you go to. Never put these types of things in your profile.
And just because somebody insists on giving you his or her details does not mean you have to reciprocate and give them yours. Be wary if they are too insistent about you doing this.
Go with your instincts
You are under no obligation to meet people in person. If you are not sure or it if doesn't feel right, don’t be intimidated into feeling you must meet them.
If you do decide to meet up and feel that the meeting is not going well or you are feeling uncomfortable, make your excuses and leave politely.
Listen to your friends - or check with us if you aren’t sure.
If anything seems peculiar at any time, ask a friend for guidance or advice before proceeding.
Listen to what your friends say, and if you need a second opinion, check with us at Ivory Towers. We are here to help, and we may be able to give guidance with a particular situation or person. And if you meet with somebody who you feel may cause problems, we would like to know that as well.
Meeting Up: Some Simple Dating Advice
With the Ivory Towers website you can develop online friendships with people you might never have met otherwise. This has been a very positive experience for thousands of our members. Once you have been emailing new friends for awhile you may decide that you would like to meet each other in person.
- Before you agree to meet it is a good idea to establish a regular correspondence. Remember the more you know about the person before you meet, the better time you are likely to have when you do meet.
- If you are phoning a mobile or a landline and wish to avoid having your number traced, dial 141 in front of the number you are calling. This prevents the receiver from being able to access your number. Once somebody has your mobile number, it very difficult to stop people calling or texting you on it.
- If somebody is behaving in a way that you consider inappropriate, they can be removed from the site. Please contact us and we will look into the situation.
- Tell a friend or relative where you are going, what time you are meeting and when you expect to return home.
- Arrange your own transport to and from the meeting. Don't accept offers of a lift from your new friend.
- Set a time limit for your first meeting, keeping it short. Meet in a public place, perhaps lunch or tea in a cafe, ideally during the day.
- Split the bill on the first meeting. It is just a suggestion, but going Dutch lessens a sense of obligation or let down if the meeting didn’t work well.
- Never invite him/her to your home on the first meeting, and don’t visit them at their home. Do ensure he or she cannot easily follow you home. Don’t put yourself in a position where you are potentially not in control of the situation.