The frequency of online dating scams is rising, resulting in millions of dollars in losses for victims annually. Scammers have evolved from just sending phishing emails to employing more sophisticated tactics to trick individuals into giving away their money.
To protect yourself while using online dating services, it’s important to be aware of potential red flags indicating a scammer. Keep reading for tips on how to avoid falling prey to online dating scams.
Though some top dating sites provide better security measures, it’s still important to be vigilant when engaging with strangers online.
Dating Site Scams: Who Are the Targets?
Scammers do not discriminate when it comes to their targets on dating platforms, and anyone can be vulnerable, regardless of their gender, age, sexual orientation, or preferred dating site.
However, older individuals tend to be targeted more often, while the most significant victims of long-term cat fishing scams are isolated or emotionally vulnerable.
One of the most prominent networks for scams is Plenty of Fish (POF), but scammers exist on popular sites such as Ashley Madison, Match.com, and others. The 2022 Netflix documentary, “The Tinder Swindler,” also shed light on the tactics used by a common scammer who targeted victims on Tinder.
With the increasing popularity of dating apps, scammers have a broader pool of potential targets and have streamlined their process using bots. It’s a contributing factor to why the online dating experience can be negative.
5 Common Signs of a Romance Scammer
1. Quick to profess their love: Scammers will often move relationships along quickly, expressing strong feelings of affection early on in the conversation. They may even propose marriage after a few discussions.
2. Asks for money: It appears when you’ve built up a trusting relationship with someone online, and they suddenly ask for money but offer no explanation.
3. Poor grammar: Scammers may be located overseas, and their English skills will often give them away. Communication with a potential partner with limited language proficiency indicates that something could be off.
4. Fake or stolen profile photo: Most scammers will use images they find online, so it’s important to look for photo inconsistencies.
5. Refusal to meet in person: Scammers will avoid meeting up in person or may cancel last minute due to a “family emergency” or another fabricated excuse.
Tips for Avoiding Online Dating Scams
Know who you’re talking to
Do your research on the person before committing to any conversation. Utilize social media or other public databases to search for their identity and verify the information they provide you with.
Use a reputable dating site
Make sure your site is secure and a real dating platform. For example, sites like Plenty of Fish and Ashley Madison offer safety features to ensure their members are genuine.
Be careful with personal information
Protect your identity by never sharing financial or private information, such as a bank account number or address, until after you meet in person – preferably face-to-face, if possible.
Investigate suspicious activity
If you notice any red flags or suspect a scammer, don’t hesitate to report it to the site’s customer service team.
Use a credit card instead of cash
Never send money directly to someone you meet online – even if they promise to pay you back later! Paying with a credit card or other secure payment methods can help ensure that you don’t lose your money if the person becomes a scammer.
By being aware of the potential scams and following these tips, you can protect yourself from online dating fraudsters and have an enjoyable experience with online dating services.
Trust your instincts – if something feels off about the person or their story, it’s probably safest to avoid engaging further.
How to Report an Online Dating Scammer
If you think you’ve been the victim of a scammer on an online dating website, it’s important to report them as soon as possible. Here are some steps to take if you believe that you have been scammed:
1. Reach out to the website or platform where your conversation occurred and inform them of what happened.
2. Report the scam to your local law enforcement agency.
3. Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the scam and get advice on what to do next.
4. If you sent any money, contact your bank or credit card company immediately and let them know about the situation so they can protect you from further losses.
By following these steps, you can help ensure that the scammer is reported and identified and reduce the chances of someone else becoming a victim. You can have a safe and successful online dating experience with the proper precautions.
FAQs: Online Dating Scams
How do you spot online dating scams?
You can spot online dating scams by looking out for suspicious behavior, such as asking for money, poor grammar, fake or stolen profile photos, and refusal to meet in person. Additionally, it would help if you researched the person before committing to any conversation, used a reputable dating site with safety features, were careful with personal information and investigated any suspicious activity.
What should I do if I’ve been scammed on an online dating website?
If you suspect you have been the victim of a scammer on an online dating website, it is important to report them as soon as possible. Reach out to the website or platform where your conversation occurred and inform them of what happened. You should also report the scam to your local law enforcement agency, contact the Federal Trade Commission, and immediately contact your bank or credit card company if you sent any money. These steps can help ensure that the scammer is reported and identified and reduce the chances of someone else becoming a victim.
How do you tell if you’re talking to a scammer?
You can tell if you’re talking to a scammer by looking out for suspicious behaviour, such as asking for money, poor grammar, fake or stolen profile photos, and refusal to meet in person.
Additionally, it would help if you researched the person before committing to any conversation, used a reputable dating site with safety features, were careful with personal information and investigated any suspicious activity. If you notice any red flags or suspect a scammer, don’t hesitate to report it to the site’s customer service team.
How can I protect myself when dating online?
To protect yourself when dating online, you should use a reputable dating site with safety features, be careful with personal information and investigate any suspicious activity. Additionally, you should research the person before committing to any conversation and trust your instincts.
If something feels off about the person or their story, it’s safest to avoid engaging further. If you think you’ve been scammed, it’s important to report them as soon as possible.