Most common scams currently:
- Romance scams: "I really love you." some time later: "Oh and I need some money."
Most common version: US soldier stationed abroad. Wikipedia link
- Advance fee fraud: "I can get you millions, you just need to pay a small fee first." Wikipedia link
Don't outright believe what someone writes.
Someone says they are old or young, male or female, rich or poor, a friend or a stranger: Maybe, maybe not.
Until you got to know someone better, it is safest to assume everything they say is playing pretend.
Don't disclose personal information
A penpal doesn't need to know your full name, your address, which school you go to or your main email address.
It's easy to walk away from someone on a site like this - it gets a lot harder/impossible if you've disclosed personal information.
Anything that can be tied to your real life identify might some day be used against you.
The internet never forgets anything
The information you post here can and likely will be indexed and archived by many search engines and might stay online there forever (even if removed here).
Everything you write, every image you send - it will all likely be out there in some form until the end of time - beyond your control.
While we do our best to keep this place civilized, our resources are limited, so for all intents and purposes you should consider this site as unmoderated and unfiltered.
Spam, scams and other offensive messages, ads, images etc. will get through from time to time.
If you want a site you can let your kid use unattended, you'll have to look elsewhere!
Sexting and the like
This is really dangerous territory!
You could easily go to jail for this and have your whole life and reputation ruined.
Especially if you or the other party are a minor. It doesn't usually matter whether you think someone is an adult - you'd still be guilty and marked for life.
Even if you yourself are the minor you could go to jail.
Check your local laws.
If you really want to anyway: make sure all involved parties are consenting adults acting in accordance with their local laws.
And even then, take it someplace else - it's against our Terms of service (we don't want the responsibility). Thanks.
Don't send anyone money. Not ever.
The person is very very likely not a starving war orphan (or whatever the story), but a criminal who is after some easy money.
The young woman from a isolated area desperate for a new life, the soldier stranded at an airport ... Those are just some of the common scams.
Some of them can be quite elaborate, with social media pages, photos with signs and text photoshopped in, calls from criminal call centers ...
It might happen that someone is really stranded at an airport and the only person in the world they can pester for money is someone they recently started talking to on the internet .... it's just infinitely more likely to be part of a scam routine.
Don't feed organized crime.
Getting Money, Jobs, ...
If someone offers money, a job or the like: walk away!
There is no oil money inheritance, no warlord drug money, no lottery win, no fancy hotel to work at, no business proposal ... These are all scams.
You should also never vouch for a visa, agree to forward packages, transfer money or anything like that.
Anyone using this site for anything but finding a penpal is violating our Terms of service.
Passwords, encryption, ...
We have pretty low requirements regarding password length and strength to accomodate our rather diverse userbase.
Nonetheless you should set a strong password that is hard to guess.
Do not base it on your username.
Do not use the same password that you use for other sites (especially not the one to your email account).
To make eavesdropping a lot harder we also recommend you use the encrypted version of our site at https://penpals.phk.at