If you’re looking for love, you may have decided to try online dating. But did you know that dating site scams are an increasingly common problem? Here’s what you should know about online romance scams so you can stay safer online.
Plot your path towards financial freedom with our Hero’s Journey tool!
MyWalletHero is here to help you learn about taking control of your money, whether that’s paying off debt, working towards a short-term money goal, or investing for your future.
This tool can help you understand the next steps on your journey – simply choose a goal that best describes your current interests to get started.
Dating site scams
Online dating scams start with a fraudster creating a fake profile on a dating site. The scammer lures you into trusting them so they can steal your money or personal information.
It’s similar to ‘catfishing’, which is when someone pretends to be someone else online. However, while catfishing isn’t technically illegal in the UK, scamming is.
Not only is ‘romance fraud’ extremely distressing, but it can damage your credit score and finances. For example, if the scammer steals your information, they can use it to commit crimes such as applying for a loan or credit card in your name. These fraudulent applications could make it harder for you to apply for credit in the future.
How to spot an online dating scam
Romance scams can be tricky to spot, but there are a few signs you should look out for.
Firstly, it’s a warning sign if the person wants to know personal details like your surname and date of birth. Be especially wary if they want to know odd details like your mother’s maiden name, or the name of your first teacher. If a scammer intends to steal your identity, they might use this information to answer security questions about you.
Secondly, scammers often encourage victims to talk offline because it’s harder to report them to the dating site for fraud. So if they’re keen to talk by phone or text rather than online, it could be an early warning sign.
And finally, be a little sceptical if someone tells you all about their personal woes. You don’t know this person yet, so if they’re sharing money worries with you, it could be because they want to lure you into sending them cash.
The bottom line? Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, there’s probably a reason.
Protect yourself from online dating scams
It’s not always easy to spot a romance scam, but here are some ways you can stay safer on dating apps.
- Never send someone money unless you know and trust them.
- Do a reverse image search on someone’s profile picture. If the picture belongs to someone else, stop talking to them immediately.
- Don’t give out personal details like your mobile number until you’re ready.
- Always keep bank account details, PINs and passwords safe. Don’t share them with anyone.
- Never tell anyone about your finances. For example, if scammers know you have money in a savings account, they may be more likely to target you.
- Stick to trusted, reputable dating sites at all times.
4 iron-clad rules for saving money on everything
Our Editor Sam Robson has been on a personal cost-cutting mission for years – and it’s time to share his wisdom.
Check out his choicest saving tips and tricks in this free report, “Sam’s 4 Iron-Clad Rules For Saving Money On Everything”.
Just enter your email below for instant access to your free copy.
If you’ve been caught out by a scam, contact your bank immediately. The bank can block your card and stop money from leaving your account. And don’t forget to contact Action Fraud, too – the organisation can sometimes catch the scammer before they find another victim.
Finally, whatever happens, remember that it’s not your fault. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed if you fall for a dating site scam. Fraudsters can target anyone, and they’re usually very sophisticated.
Was this article helpful?
Some offers on MyWalletHero are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.