How To Identify An Online Dating Scam: Quick Tips 

The internet has given us access to practically anything we might want, and with shifting social conventions and younger generations, finding love online has become the new hot-take.  Many dating apps are available on app stores that let you connect with someone new via phone calls, texting, and even video calls, making the first moves less awkward for a socially anxious person. This also comes with the risk of being scammed out of those green notes and digital currencies. Scams involving online dating are rising, costing unwary victims thousands of dollars annually.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers lost about $547 million to online dating fraudsters last year. This type of fraud is more commonly targeted at seniors as they are easy to manipulate, and most do not realize they have been scammed until it's too late. 


How to not get fooled


In this article, we shall discuss specific vital points to identify an online dating scam, so make sure to understand it thoroughly before going on an online dating pursuit.


1. Do a thorough profile check.


Scammers and chatbots will have extremely little personal info on apps like Tinder. They also just have one or two pictures on their account and do not link them to their Instagram or other social media profiles. Such images and information are often taken from the internet or stock photos that render unpopular amongst the crowd. Hence, it becomes difficult to judge whether the person operating the account is really what they present in the images or not. A quick Google image search will help you relieve the stress and tension of being scammed. 


Most fake profiles claim to be finding singles and potential dates within the area but live/work in a foreign country. Such statements are greeted with a general excuse of being deployed for military services or job hunts. 


2. The conversation takes a u-turn.


You will notice that most dating scammers often don't stick to one conversation or try to initiate one to understand your likes and interests. Instead, the topic mostly gets diverted towards money or luring you into using some other website or platform. 


They would sound desperate enough to invest in any conversation that involves money or using their fraud sites to hack into your profiles and systems. Such things are a major red flag, and you should be careful not to disclose any personal details or share your phone numbers or data instantly. 


3. They ask for emergency money.


Asking for money is a common trick in the book of a scammer, and they would make it sound like they are in dire need of help. They might design a variety of circumstances, such as family emergencies, health challenges, travel issues, starting up businesses, and even financial transactions. Really cunning scammers may even mislead you into paying money by pretending to ship you a box that demands customs taxes. Scammers don't often work alone, so you can get a call or paperwork from someone pretending to be a third party requesting money. 

Another red flag you should be aware of in online dating scams is never to get involved with anyone who wishes for you to be their helping hands in financial trades, such as opening bank accounts and sending vouchers and gift cards. They aim to turn you into their money-laundering machine, eventually getting you into a severe federal crisis without your knowledge.


4. Confess their feelings too quickly.


We are all aware of the love at first sight scheme and all the textbook romance, but definitely, it is no love if an online profile confesses their feelings for you just after two hours or a day of conversation. If you fall for this tactic too often or are more focused on your expressive side, this is your warning call to take such issues seriously. Often such scammers avoid meeting in person even after their "I love you" and long phone calls, which is a significant warning sign that should be considered to make sure you are not falling for a fraudster who wants to empty your pockets. Indeed you are not looking for a broken heart, and numbers turned to zero in your bank account, so better safe than sorry. 


5. Meeting up is greeted with an excuse.


One of the most famous lines used by online dating scammers is that they want to meet you, but when the time arrives, something unexpected happens. The fraudster does not want to meet in person since they are not who they claim to be. This is also why so many con artists claim to work in another nation or be on military deployment; it gives them an excuse to avoid meeting up. Many con artists use military and army photographs in their profiles to lure in dates and have an excellent reason for never showing up in person.

Most of them would promise you fake reassurances accompanied by money loans such as buying them tickets to meet you, sending money for a car trip to your place, and many such things. So if you meet someone online who carries on their conversations of meeting up with you with money favors, you know you have your red flag-waving. 


6. Avoid video chats or sending photos.


Flattered by that pretty face, built body, and all those external appearances that easily attract you to the profile? You may notice that they will most definitely avoid any sort of video call exchanges or sending selfies and photos of themselves. Why? The answer is obvious: they pretend to be someone they are not to scam you on an online dating platform. 


The usual excuse such scammers use is that their phone camera is either broken or non-functional. With technical advancements, every phone boasts of coming with face-enhancing selfie cameras that make video conversations more accessible and more convenient. If you are being told that your phone camera does not comply or work properly, you may need to rethink your decisions. You might be led on with fake confessions and love language if the person never agrees to turn up on a video chat with you, so beware of such con artists on dating platforms. 


7. Try to convince you to switch platforms instantly.


Online dating scammers often look to catfish victims and strip off their wallets to convince people to switch to a different platform to communicate. This includes using emails, social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, or even messaging. If they ask to change platforms the instant you match or start talking, this is a major red flag, as moving platforms or giving personal information should be a mutual option rather than a pressured one. 

It is safer to create a new account or email just for your own safety if you want to take the conversations out of the dating app to protect your personal information from fraud and scams. 


Online Dating Scams: How to Avoid Them


You should be able to avoid online dating scams and maintain more excellent general online safety after you learn how to recognize if someone is scamming you online. According to the FTC, the following are a few points to remember before engaging in online dating:

  • If a profile appears odd to you, recheck it with internet photo searches to ensure you're not being scammed.
  • If you find yourself entangled in a dating scam, gather the courage and talk to someone trustworthy calmly. Usually, scammers try to isolate you from others just to have the upper hand on you through blackmails and threats, so it is better to talk it out than make decisions on your own.
  • Never make the mistake of sending out money even if they try to convince you using emergencies or crises. One wrong move will land you in loss and great trouble. 
  • If you are scammed or spot a scammer on online dating platforms, then the best thing to do is report to the support helplines of such dating apps and file a complaint under FTC for cybercrime. 




Avoiding and preventing online dating scams is crucial to making the internet a better and safe space for people who are looking to open up or find their perfect relationships. You can also contribute to this transition by reporting any suspected frauds to cyber security to help keep a decent community and meet people through dating apps, which are becoming increasingly popular.

Need more information on dating platforms, advice on making the first move, or how to present yourself on dating applications for better matches? Check out for all the details!