Online Dating Scam Examples, How To Stay Safe When Using Dating Apps, What To Be Aware Of When Online Dating, Romance Scammers, Bitcoin, Military Scams & More

When it comes to online dating, there is more to worry about than just few likes, matches or dates. Dating apps are ripe for scams as lax registration rules, poor reporting features, unassuming victims, ineffective bans, and lack of punishment make it enticing for some to prey on others.

Every year, billions of dollars and thousands of people are scammed via dating apps. Thanks to shows like the Tinder Swindler, people are becoming more aware of such scams however, there is still a lot of shame, and embarrassment around these scams that any figures you see are likely underreported.

 

Online Dating Scam Examples, Common Dating App Scams, Types Of Online Dating Scams

Scams these days come in all shapes and sizes. Not all are monetary scams, some are psychological in nature. Many people join apps during times of vulnerability i.e. loneliness, break-ups, and isolation. These conditions present opportunities for professional manipulators to target victims.

Some scams are very obvious (in order to screen out false positives and target the most gullible) while others can be months or years in the making. Unfortunately, not all scams are reported, as victims usually feel a sense of embarrassment in such situations. Others might be afraid of blackmail or stalking.

 

Online Dating Romance Scams: Love-Bombing Lonely People, Widows, Single Parents

One of the most targeted types of people in online dating scams are the vulnerable i.e. single lonely people, single parents, widows, divorcees etc. Dating apps make it easy to find such people by the inherent nature of their businesses.

A good portion of people on dating apps use online dating as their only method of meeting people, making it easier to fall prey to scams as most scammers rely on isolation, lack of social circles and loneliness to remove warnings from outside influences.

Dating apps should be just one channel of meeting people to be successful – can’t ignore offline methods for meeting people as social skills and communication skills can regress over time.

It’s not uncommon for people on apps to be a bit down on themselves and lack confidence if they’ve been on apps for a long time (some scammers sort Match profiles but longest on site while other scammers target new people to apps w/ stickers like Hinge’s New Here or Bumble Just Joined).

Scammers use what’s called as ‘love-bombing’ to bombard victims with affection, flattering words and even outlandish promises.

While these words mean nothing and feel harmless, over time they can disarm victims and lower their guards as manipulators try to obtain small requests, favors that can build up over time.

Watch: The Tinder Swindler.

 

Sextortionists On Dating Apps, Video Chats: Do Sextortionists Follow Through?

Some people don’t mind getting frisky on video chats but these interactions can prove to be harmful. It’s possible that people record your actions and threaten to share said videos with your contacts via FB, IG, Linkedin, Twitter etc.

With so much public information on the internet, it’s not hard to find out where people live and who their neighbors are. While the threat of sextortionists following through is minimal, it is not zero.

It’s important to keep chats within the app and avoid using 3rd party tools that make it harder to prove identity, connect back to said dating accounts and take action against.

The particular scammers might be real people who are based overseas and might even get naked on video chats themselves in order to build up trust, get you to do things on video only to screenshot or record things.

Avoid moving to What’sApp or other 3rd party chat apps. Also, don’t match with people overseas or who are traveling. Date local. Look for local clues in profile but more so photos.

Use restraint. Don’t drop your pants for strangers. It’s not worth it.

 

Online Dating Bitcoin Scams

Dating app Bitcoin scams are a relatively newer set of scams on the rise. While these scams seem obvious and harmless at first i.e. classes on how to invest, different platforms etc, some scammers quickly obtain personal info which can be used to drain accounts.

Niche Dating Apps, Fake Dating Apps, Sites

While no app is completely safe and free of scammers, niche sites are notorious for being perfect environments for scammers. Apps guaranteeing hookups, matrimony, race preferences, instant dates etc. are often the most scammy of them all.

Any app that requires payment for verification should give pause. Most apps don’t require a credit card unless you want to pay for certain features.

Stick to the main apps like Hinge, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, OkCupid, The League, Match.com etc.

 

Online Dating Military Scams

Anyone serving in the military should be a red flag. It’s not so much the lifestyle but rather one of the most common scams around. It’s a perfect excuse to build sympathy, explain long absences (deployment) and avoid contact.

 

Online Dating Phishing Links Scams

Any conversation or profile that contains a link to click on should be an automatic red flag. There is never a need to click on any link when chatting, setting up dates etc. Clicking on certain types of links can allow scammers to gain control of devices, passwords, logins, media on phones etc.

 

Dating Profile Verification Scams

A subset of the phishing links are profile verification scams. Scammers typically send links to people to verify identity before meeting up or doing chats. Not needed.

These services may not seem like much (low price) but the sites often capture credit card info and later make fraudulent charges down the road.

 

Catfishing, No Photos In Profile, Limited Info In Profile, Overseas Profiles

Many fake profiles use limited info on profiles i.e. no bio, one or no photos, ambiguous backgrounds, details and grainy/distant photos. More sophisticated, targeted scammers will create exhaustive profiles matching everything you want and making them seem like a ‘perfect match.’

A simple workaround is using reverse images searches on Google and similar sites but even these don’t scan private accounts, all social media profiles or even AI-generated photos. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

 

How To Outsmart A Romance Scammer, How To Spot An Online Dating Scammer

Don’t bother wasting your time. These people are focused on the most gullible and easiest targets. Once they sense you are trying to one up them, they will move on. Most scammers are located overseas. Don’t try to outsmart them at their own game – they are professionals.

Questions To Ask A Romance Scammer, Romance Scammer Tactics

If you sense you are being targeted by a romance scammer, why would you spend any more time trying to figure them out? Someone who tells you sweet nothings without meeting you is either a romance scammer, lonely or looking for companionship. If you have any doubt, just move on.

 

Romance Scammer Phrases

I am so glad I met you (despite never meeting face to face).

You are the best thing that ever happened to me (told you within days of matching).

I could just talk to you forever (despite never meeting in person).

 

Online Dating Scammer Photos, Romance Scammer Photos

Some are pulled from the internet (can be found via reverse image search), others are obvious (way too attractive relative to what attention you normally get offline) while others are pulled from non-indexable sites i.e. social media and the like. Just because you can’t find anything via reverse image search, doesn’t mean they are not a romance scammer.

 

Online Dating Safety Tips, Safe Online Dating, Is Online Dating Safe

Read this.

 

Tinder Match Disappeared After Giving Phone Number

Some people unmatch to free up their match queue (shady), others unmatch to make it easier to manage matches, others do it to make it harder to report them or avoid changes on their profile being seen by you. Huge red flag.

 

Dating Site Safety: How To Report Online Dating Scams, Dating App Scams, Online Romance Scammers: Hinge, Bumble, Tinder

The FTC has a great resource of possible types of scams to look out for. Read up on the latest information they provide as well as their online form to report scams.

Additionally, the FBI has an online form to report online crimes – check out that form as well.

 

Tinder Swindler

Watch this.

 

Dating Coach Services - Men & Women

First date ideas, wardrobe styling, places to meet singles, where to sit at bars and restaurants, body language, vocal intonation, eye contact, conversation skills, how to flirt over text, how to be more approachable and get people to start conversations with you, mock dates and more.

-As seen in the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal & More

Additional Reading: Dating Red Flags; Red Flags Online, Red Flags When Dating, Red Flags In Men, Red Flags In Women, Online Dating Warning Signs, Red Flags When Talking To A Guy Online, Red Flags On Tinder

Online Dating Resource Guide – Surveys, Studies, Podcasts, Articles & More

Online Dating Slang Terms

How To Unmatch On Tinder, Hinge, Bumble

What Do Your Dating App Photos Signal

How To Write An Online Dating Profile

Signs Of Manipulation While Dating And In A Relationship

He’s Just Not That Into You

Misleading Dating Profile Photos

Online Dating Red Flags

Online Dating Critique, Makeover For Men & Women

Strategy (App Choice + Timing + First Messages), Photo Critique, Photo Order, Bios + Prompts + Photo Captions, Wardrobe Feedback, Grooming Suggestions, Clothing Recommendations, Hairstyle Recommendations, Body Language, Smiles & More

-As seen in the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal & More

About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie Hernandez is a dating consultant & professional photographer based in San Francisco, servicing clients in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and beyond as featured in the NYTimes, SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle.

In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice, date planning, screening profiles, ID'ing red flags, offline techniques for meeting people organically, naturally.

Dating App FAQ's | Online Dating Resource Guide | How To Be Successful With Dating Apps

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