Common Online Dating Scams You Should Avoid

A photo of a man checking something on his laptop Know what scams to look out for to avoid them on dating websites. | Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

There are a lot of guys who sign up on mobile dating apps in order to find love. Signing up on an app is easy enough, especially since all that’s needed is a phone number in some cases.

However, lovelorn men are not the only ones on those apps, sometimes those perpetrating online dating scams are on those very same apps.

As a result, not all dating websites are exactly safe. Even if the danger involved isn’t physical, the outcome can still be devastating, and being financially and emotionally devastated is not exactly fun.

The reason that these unsavory elements are able to exist, if not thrive, on dating sites is simple; these sites are open and accessible. Anyone can easily sign up with any one of them. Not even the best dating apps for relationships can keep out unsavory elements.

These people generally target the most vulnerable individuals on the internet; older people who may be more susceptible to online scams, as younger people grew up with the internet and are a little more accustomed to spotting red flags and peculiarities when they see them.

What To Look Out For

There are more than a few things that a person needs to look out for when on the internet in order to avoid being duped.

  1. The Nigerian Prince
  2. There is one scam that is pretty common, and if not common, at least well-known enough that people can make jokes about it on the internet. This is called the Nigerian Prince scam, also known as the advance fee scam.

    What happens is that you get a message from someone stating that they are in an unfavorable position and that they require some funds. They also state that they have funds offshore, but are unable to access those funds. If you wire them some money in order for them to leave their country and put them in a position where they may safely access the vast fortune, they are sure to pay you back with exorbitant interest.

    Of course, the debt is never paid, because there is no debt in the first place. There were no offshore funds. Whoever sent the message has your money in their account and you’re not likely to ever see it again.

    There can be a romantic element to this type of scam. A romance scam is not entirely unheard of.

  3. Hooking and Baiting
  4. A man who goes fishing as a hobby attaches bait to a hook and then throws that hook out into the ocean and waits until something bites. Once something bites, he reels it in and brings his catch home, or he guts it and eats it right then and there. There are more than a few online dating scams that work in the same way, except the catch is not a fish, but a wad of cash.

    In this case, the bait is not some fancy lure or a worm. The bait is a woman. Sometimes, the woman in question is the scammer, or someone who is affiliated with the woman, or there is no woman at all and the picture on the profile is just someone’s photo taken off of the internet.

    What happens is that you’ll meet someone on the internet, you’ll feel a connection, and then you’ll probably learn about their life and feel compelled to help out. So you wire them some money or send them some goods.

    Now, you may also want to see this woman to whom you are sending quite a bit, just to see if the spark you feel over the internet will be there in real life. But there will be a multitude of excuses as to why you cannot meet her.

    Maybe her family situation is not ideal at the moment. Maybe the political situation in her country makes it unsafe for tourism of any sort. The first time it happens, you may brush it off and keep sending your usual gifts anyway.

    Then it happens again, but you still want to meet her. So you send her a plane ticket - maybe it is to your country or to some other country. Either way, you start to feel confident that you’re going to meet.

    Then she misses her plane. That’s the thing about dating apps and free dating apps in particular. Since anyone can sign up, practically anyone can sign up, even scammers.

How To Spot Them

The thing about online dating is that there is always a risk. The fact is that in life, there are always risks. There is no foolproof way to make these risks go away entirely.

But there are more than a few ways to minimize these risks. There are a few signs that you can look out for in order to steer clear of unsavory elements. They wave a few red flags that can warn you to steer clear of them.

  1. No Video
  2. Sometimes, the woman that you’re with will balk at the idea of video chatting. Maybe she doesn’t like her appearance, or maybe her appearance doesn’t match her profile because she’s not a woman at all and does not want you to become aware of it.

  3. Asking For More
  4. One great way to tell a person is not sincere in their intentions is if they keep asking for more. Sure, giving a little bit is good, but asking and giving should not be the entirety of the relationship.

  5. A Lack of Social Media Presence
  6. Because so many people use social media, someone who is dating over the internet and is not on any social media platforms can be a little suspicious. Sure, it’s not the reddest of flags out there, but the flag is definitely kind of pink.

    There is no guarantee when it comes to looking for love. After all, there are no guarantees when it comes to life in general. Nothing in the world is free of risk, not even taking a breath.

    But there are a few ways to minimize that risk. There are ways to avoid becoming the victim of online dating scams. Simply keep the aforementioned tips in mind and you can prevent yourself from falling for these risks.


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