Due to the coronavirus pandemic, dating apps have had a major boost in recent years; of this, Tinder is the most popular. However, along with this, scams have increased through these platforms.
Thus, with the release of the Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler —which is about the scammer Shimon Hayut, who deceived many women with money through the app— the risks of participating in such networks began to come to light.
According to a report According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), dating scams reached record levels in 2020, with reported losses amounting to $304 million (50 percent more than in 2019). That’s about $2,500 lost per person.
Sometimes scammers can be so subtle that you don’t realize you’ve been duped until it’s too late. But so that this does not happen to you, you can pay attention to some signs. Here are some of the red flags you should be aware of to spot scammers on dating apps.
They ask for something too soon
Some online dating scammers are bold enough to ask you for something (especially money) even though they’ve only been chatting for a short time, like a couple of weeks. But there is no sensible reason to send funds to someone you just met online.
If your suitor has genuine intentions, he won’t take advantage of your trust or vulnerability to ask for money from the start.
They explicitly ask for money
An online dating scammer will almost always ask you to send them money through apps like Cash App, PayPal, and Venmo.
One of the most common reasons they ask for money is that their money is invested in a big business, although they also often say that they have a supposedly sick child or that they are stuck abroad.
If your online suitor uses these reasons to ask you for money, you can guarantee that he is scamming you. And if his behavior towards you changes after you refuse to help him, that will confirm the suspicions.
They need urgent help
A favorite tactic of scammers is to create a sense of urgency when asking for money, and in some cases they even demand it under the premise that they are a couple and as such need to help each other.
So if your online suitor has an emergency that requires you to send him a payment to get him out of a jam, just block him.
They emotionally blackmail you
Scammers can psychologically manipulate you as long as you give them what they want. If you are afraid or suspicious of giving your online suitor some cash, she may resort to emotional blackmail to make you feel bad enough to reconsider her request.
He can tell you things like: “I thought you cared about me”, “Why should I ask someone else when I can ask my partner?” or “The sooner I have the money, the sooner I can come see you.”
They ask you to buy gift cards
In cases where you are unable to send money to your suitor online, he may ask you to send him multiple gift cards, in order to sell them for cash.
Some popular gift cards that scammers ask for are from big box retailers like Target or other brands like Apple. Fortunately, some stores have picked up on this trend and warn users of fraud if they buy multiple gift cards at once.
They ask you to take out a loan
Another way online dating scammers get cash sent to them is by convincing people to take out a loan on their behalf. They may tell you they can’t do it themselves due to credit or immigration issues.
But the truth is that scammers do not intend to return the money. Never apply for a loan in someone else’s name, no matter how much trust you have in the person in question. This way you will avoid staying with a debt that you cannot pay.
They ask for sexual content
In some instances, online dating scammers can build trust with you to the point where you feel comfortable enough to send them nude or explicit content.
They’ll shower you with compliments to get you to do it, but once you’ve shared that content with them, they can use it to blackmail you into sending them money indefinitely. This is commonly known as “sextortion.”
Never send pictures or videos of yourself in compromising positions, no matter how much you trust the person.
They ask for your personal information
Online dating scammers may sometimes ask for your personal information, such as your social security number or your full name as it appears on your ID, to obtain fraudulent documents with which to operate their scams or illegal activities.
You should never share private data, meaning any information you wouldn’t share with a stranger, with a person you’re dating online.
If you spend time in dating apps, it’s best to be prepared to know when someone might try to scam you. Just make sure you take your time getting to know someone you talk to online, so you can better assess whether or not their intentions are genuine.