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Scams On Dating Sites Are Real! Avoid Them With our Must-Read 2021 Guide

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We’ve all heard of well-known online scams involving cryptocurrencies or the notorious Nigerian prince email. But the average losses from these two frauds are nothing when compared to dating site scams. Amazingly, on average, only fake investment schemes are more costly to victims. A report from the Federal Trade Commission shared that in 2020 over $300 million (a 50% increase from 2019) in losses from online dating scams!

However, it’s important to remember that not all dating sites are scams, and also that many people have found true and lasting love thanks to the internet. So to help you stay on the right side of the tracks, take advantage of our Must-Read 2021 Guide about online dating scams. We’ll tell you about the most popular scams, how to protect yourself, the added dangers of mobile dating apps, and potential comebacks if you’re unfortunate enough to get scammed.

How did dating site scams originate?

As long as people have been dating face to face, there have been scammers and cheats. And as long as there have been online dating sites, there have also been dating site scammers and cheats. In that respect, scammers on dating websites are nothing new.
The internet and mobile apps make it super easy for us to scan, filter and contact potential partners on dating sites. But the downside to all that convenience is that it also makes it super easy for scammers to scan, filter and contact potential victims.

You may have heard of the term “catfish” in relation to dating scams. The word is used to describe someone who uses a fake personality to trick a person into a sham relationship. In America, “Catfish: The TV Show” has become a popular program about the truth and lies surrounding online dating.

Sometimes with dating sites scams, there’s no financial angle. People fake relationships for their own kicks, or to teach someone they know a lesson, or simply for no-strings-attached affairs. But the fact remains that many scams are centered around money. That may take the form of a simple but bogus request for financial help, but in more sinister cases, it may result in blackmail or extortion, in return for keeping silent about the affair, or not revealing compromising messages and pictures.

Some of the most well-known dating website scams

A quick Google search reveals the all too real and costly dangers of online dating. A woman in Aurora, CO, lost $250,000, her house and her life savings to a conman she met on a dating site. An 80-year-old man in Florida handed over $200,000 to a scammer who’d stolen a woman’s identity. And in Ireland, the Garda (police) website tells the story of a woman who received expensive gifts from her suitor, before losing €48,000 which she invested in his sham company.
In every case, the people involved fell for the phony charms of an utterly convincing, smooth-talking suitor. You can be sure that the dating site scams list is far, far longer than the three examples described above, but many victims are simply too scared, ashamed, or embarrassed to come forward.

And there’s actually another unsavory aspect to online dating. In 2019, the US Federal Trade Commission launched a lawsuit against some of the most well-known dating sites, alleging that they created false profiles in order to lure customers in. This lawsuit reminds us that if you’re paying a fee to register, you should always check the credibility of the site, read the small print, and be sure of what you’re signing up for.

Tips to recognize scammers on dating sites

If you’re new to the scene, you may not know how to spot online dating scams. But there are certain warning signs to watch out for. Here are some of the more common tactics used by scammers:

  • They have an extremely attractive profile picture (which may not be their own!).

  • They hurry the relationship along and quickly suggest moving communications away from the dating website and on to texts, phone calls, or messaging apps.

  • They ask you lots of personal questions, but they consciously avoid giving you any detailed information about themselves.

  • They use words to flatter you and build you up, make you feel attractive, and give you a special pet name.

  • Once the relationship’s established, they start asking you for financial help, often for small amounts at first, before building up to larger sums. Or they may tell you a sob story about money worries, in the hope that you’ll offer to help.

  • They avoid Skype and other video calls, and never meet you in person. Any arrangements to do so are always canceled at the last moment or never come to fruition.

  • They claim to be living abroad, which is why they can’t meet up or why they need money to pay for their fare to come and see you. You may not be surprised to learn that international dating scams are actually one of the most common frauds on dating sites.

A quick warning on dating app scams

Although the more established dating services like match.com started life as websites, many people now use mobile apps like Tinder, Grindr, or Bumble for dating. So what’s the difference between these apps and more traditional dating websites – and are there any additional risks that apply to apps?
The first point to make is that all the same warnings that apply to dating websites apply to dating apps. You still need to exercise caution and take care of what information you share.

That said, there are certain aspects of mobile dating apps that potentially make them riskier.

  1. First up is the issue of immediacy. We carry our mobile phones with us at all times, which means we may be tempted to respond to a message immediately, rather than taking the time to weigh up the consequences. 
  2. Next, mobile apps may use GPS, making the location of one or both parties clear. Such information could potentially be used for stalking, for example. 
  3. And finally, there’s the simple reality that the sheer popularity of apps over dating websites makes them more attractive to scammers because it gives them a greater target market.
Although the more established dating services like match.com started life as websites, many people now use mobile apps like Tinder, Grindr, or Bumble for dating. So what’s the difference between these apps and more traditional dating websites – and are there any additional risks that apply to apps?

How can you protect yourself from scams on dating sites?

It’s very easy to be taken in when someone takes a romantic interest in us. It’s a great boost to the ego, particularly for people who’ve lost a loved one, who are lonely, or who’ve been single for a while. Just remember, however, that scammers often cynically select their victims based on people in those very situations.
You can help to keep yourself safe by heeding the following advice. First, only use trusted dating websites or apps: take time to research the best scam-free dating sites. Check to see if the person has a presence on other social media platforms, and be wary if they don’t, or if they have a fake-looking profile. Use Google’s image search feature to see if the person’s picture is being used elsewhere. And be extremely careful about sharing any personal information, especially any financial details or intimate pictures.
In that first flush of interest, it can be difficult to trust your instincts, especially because the other person could really be genuine. But always remember at the back of your mind that they might be stringing you along.
Many people who’ve lost money to a dating app or dating site scam simply write off their losses, because they believe it’s impossible to get their money back, or because they’re too embarrassed by what happened. At Payback, however, we take a different view. We’re great believers in justice and fairness, and we don’t think scammers on dating websites should be able to get away with their criminal actions.

To that end, we offer a discrete, confidential, and highly effective funds recovery service for people who’ve been ripped off by scammers on dating sites. Why not give us a call right now to discuss how we might be able to help you? You may be able to recover money that you thought was gone forever.

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    IMPORTANT !

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