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How to avoid scammers on dating apps

Always be wary when using dating apps and sites (Image: Shutterstock)
Always be wary when using dating apps and sites (Image: Shutterstock)

As everybody knows, the internet revolutionised the dating world. According to eHarmony 32% of relationships in the UK between 2015 and 2019 started on dating apps – a number that’s expected to rise to 50% by 2035.

But there can be dangers lurking within the world of online dating which are far worse than your date not being entirely honest about their height.

Scammers and con artists regularly use dating apps and websites to find and exploit victims. Don't be fooled into thinking these are small-scale crimes either. While a study carried out by Barclays found that victims of romance scams lose £10,000 each on average, a woman recently found to have lost £107,000 to a scammer she met on a dating site.

The personal stories of victims can be even more harrowing. As the Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler shows, dating app scammers are experts are manipulating their victims, sometimes leaving emotional scars far larger than the financial impact.

Scammers regularly use dating apps and websites to find their victims, which is why we’ve put together a list of some common things you can watch out for.

Signs you’re talking to an online dating scammer

  • They look like a model

You might have matched with a stunner, but do their photos look like they were taken by a professional? Are the poses like something from a magazine? Then they might be using someone else’s photos.

What you should do.

Do a quick reverse image search of their photos. If your search brings back hits like modelling or influencer agencies, you’re probably chatting to a scammer.

  • Things are going a little too well.

It feels great when you instantly click with someone on a dating app. Unfortunately, scammers will say all the right things and claim to share your interests as a way of gaining your trust.

What you should do.

Never give out any personal details to someone you’ve met online, no matter how charming they might be.

  • They want to move the conversation off the dating app.

This is a common trick. Scammers want to move the conversation to text or email so they have a bit more personal info about you.

What you should do.

Just say your more comfortable speaking on the app. If they don’t seem happy with this, they're probably not soulmate material.

  • They ask for taxi or petrol money.

The scammer will arrange a date with you, before claiming they can’t afford to get to your meeting spot. Next they’ll ask if you can transfer them some money so they can make the journey.

What you should do.

This is a simple method of scamming a few pounds off the victim before blocking them. As a rule, you should never send money to anyone you’ve met online, including dating websites and apps.

Remember, most dating apps and websites will have a function to report potential scammers. Always be sure to report anyone you’re suspicious of.


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