How to Recognize and Avoid Dating Site Scams in 2024

Recognize and Avoid Dating Site Scams

Scams on dating sites are nothing new. However, in recent years, they’ve evolved, and new ones have emerged, making using any dating site or app a potential hazard.

You might open an app to find love and end up losing all your crypto or fiat funds a few months later. These scams are not immediate but often depend on gaining your trust before asking for money or investments.

Additionally, some dating site scams aren’t romance scams but instead are fake dating apps or 2FA scams focusing on capturing your data.

You need to be aware of potential scams so you’re ready to avoid them. So, let’s break down the common types of scams that aim to separate you from your hard-earned cash to help you stay safe.

Understanding the Landscape of Online Dating Scams

Dating sites are based on connecting people, which has unfortunately led to them attracting scammers for years. With most dating sites being mobile apps and having more users than ever, scams targeting dating app users have become exceedingly common.

So, can you get scammed on a dating site? Sadly, the answer is yes, so you need to be aware of the common types of scams and how to avoid them.

Types of Dating Site Scams

Dating site scams can come in many forms, so knowing all the possibilities is hard. However, we can still break down a few types of typical dating sites scams so you can be aware of them as you use these services.

So, let’s discuss some of the most common types of scams you might encounter while using dating sites and apps.

Military Romance Scams

Scammers often pose as military personnel in an effort to avoid suspicion, both by coming off as trustworthy to their targets and having an excuse not to meet in person.

Typically, these scams involve the perpetrator setting up a fake profile with the real name and pictures of a soldier. The scammer gets to know the target, and they start getting romantically connected, but before they can meet, the fake soldier gets deployed.

Now, they have an excuse for not meeting up and even being unable to do video calls, as they can say they’re in a bad coverage area. Soon after the pseudo-deployment, the soldier starts asking for money for a range of reasons. Perhaps they want to set up better Internet connections or makeup shortcomings in the military that require extra funds.

These scams can drag out for months and even years in some cases. The only goal is to extract as much money as possible out of the target before they become suspicious.

General Romance Scams

Many of the same elements of military romance scams also transfer to the broader category. Instead of posing as a soldier, the scammer poses as someone on a dating site.

Once the scammer starts talking to someone, they’ll start building up a story to make the victim fall for them. Any requests to call or meet are met with excuses, and then eventually, the scammer says they’ve had a crisis in their personal life.

That’s when the requests for money begin. It might be for car issues or because of a lost job, but once they’ve gotten a transaction, they’ll keep asking for more until the victim becomes suspicious. At that point, the scammer will block them on all contact points and move on to the next victim.

Fake Dating Sites

Unlike romance scams, this type of dating site scam is more interested in your personal data. Someone will create an entirely fake site to get users to sign up, then harvest personal data and payment information.

They might run ads for the site or pay for links from other, more reputable sites to make it seem legitimate. Sometimes, these fake sites even have bots or scammers posing as other users, so you think it is a new, accurate dating site.

A common tactic of these sites is to offer you a free premium account, but you’ll need to put a credit card on file first. They’ll have your payment information to use in other scams and maybe also sell to other scammers.

One of the clear signs of a fake dating site is that you’ve never heard of it before, plain and simple. If you come across a new app or site, look into it more before signing up. 

Code Verification Scams

These types of scams imitate a text or email from a legitimate dating site with an urgent message about your account. This type of scam typically asks you to update your account but links to a deceptive third-party site not associated with the legitimate dating site.

Once you’re on the fake site, they’ll ask you to log in and then ask for other sensitive information, such as:

  • Date of birth
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Bank account
  • Credit card details
  • Even Social Security number

All of this information will be used for a range of other scams and likely sold to other scammers, too. Take the time to check the authenticity of any website you visit, and make it a rule not to click links from questionable texts and emails.

Recognizing Red Flags Common Dating Sites Scams 

How can you quickly identify any of these types of scams? Let’s quickly run through a few ways to protect yourself while using these sites.

  • New dating site: If you haven’t heard of it before, either skip it or investigate it. Look for any other reports that it’s a scam or reports of success from trustworthy sources. Try websites like TrustPilot and ask friends if they’ve heard about it — a dating app worth using needs to have other real users so they’ll make an impact.
  • Refuse video calls or have “tech issues”: Anyone on a dating app is using a smartphone, so the only reason they have for not being able to hop on a video call is tech issues. If that keeps happening, the person is likely not the same person in the pictures on their profile.
  • Claim to be financially Stable, but ask for money: Scammers don’t want to initially seem desperate for money. Instead, they’ll say they have some high-paying job. A severe crisis happens, and they’ll ask you for money. Watch out for that specific combination of events — they’re likely a scammer.
  • Promises to meet but never follow through: Scammers don’t usually refuse; they’ll agree to meet, but something comes up. If this happens once, it doesn’t necessarily mean the person is a scammer, but if it keeps happening repeatedly, it’s a big sign they’re a scammer. This activity is especially true when combined with other red flags.

How to Avoid Dating Site Scams

The above red flags help alert you to a possible scam, but what else can you do to avoid them? Let’s review a few more tips to help you avoid getting scammed.

Ask Plenty of Questions

You’re going to ask questions when you get to know someone new; it’s a natural part of the process. So, make some of these questions about things you verify. You can also ask things that make sense based on their profile — see if they stay consistent.

A lot of romance scams involve posing as someone in a respected profession. You can use this to ask something that’d be hard for an average person to answer convincingly. 

For example, if they say they’re a lawyer, ask a legal question about their stated specialty. They might use an answer from Google, which indicates they just looked up the answer. Or they’ll try to make something up, and you can fact-check their answer.

Research Everything About the Person

When it comes to military or romance scams, you’ll have some information to work with. Look up their name and see if you can find other profiles with matching pictures. Look up the town they say they’re in and see if it matches up with other things they’ve said.

You can also reverse image search anything they send you. Sometimes, it can be hard to get the right results, but you might also discover their pictures are stolen from someone else’s social media profile.

Avoid Random Texts and Suspicious Emails

Be cautious of emails or texts related to your account that seem unrelated to your activity. Typically, if an app needs you to make changes, they’ll alert you the next time you log in.

Of course, getting some email alerts about making changes is also common. Look at the sender’s address — is it from the right domain name or something else that contains the name?

Either way, don’t click on any of the links in the email and just log in to the site or app. You can see if they actually need to make any changes or follow the email’s instructions without clicking any links.

Did You Lose Crypto in a Dating Site Scam? Let Lionsgate Help

Many dating site scams aim to separate you from crypto, fiat currency, or your personal data. Depending on the scam, you might have recourse to recover your stolen funds. 

Fiat funds can often be reclaimed by pursuing law enforcement action, but crypto thefts can be more challenging. However, stolen crypto isn’t always gone forever. Crypto recovery agencies might be able to help you reclaim stolen cryptocurrency.

Lionsgate is one of the leading crypto recovery agencies with the right blend of experience to help track down and reclaim stolen funds. Our teams have expertise in cybersecurity, blockchain analysis, and legal matters, so they have the best chance of tracking down and recovering your coins.

Did you lose cryptocurrency from a dating site scam? Contact Lionsgate today for a consultation to see if we can help you reclaim your coins.

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