8 Dating App Red Flags to Help You Spot the Next Tinder Scammer

Have you ever wondered if your online dating suitor is trying to scam you? Sometimes the lines can be blurry and the scammers can be so subtle that you don’t realize you’ve been taken for a ride until it’s too late.

Here are some of the red flags you should watch out for to help you spot a potential scammer.

Dating scams are on the rise

Image Credit: oatawa via Shutterstock.com

As ridiculous as The Tinder Swindler may have seemed to some, it’s a notable example of people getting scammed on dating apps. In fact, statistics show that dating scams are on the rise.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, dating scams hit record highs in 2020, with reported losses amounting to $304 million, an increase of about 50% from 2019. represents approximately $2,500 lost per individual.

As stated in the report:

It is reasonable to ask: what happened in 2020 to keep these dollar losses growing? One obvious reason may be the pandemic limiting our ability to meet in person. But outside of the pandemic, the share of people who have ever used an online dating site or app has also increased. And romance scammers are ready to take advantage.

Related: Adult Website Email Scam: Don’t Give Thieves Bitcoin

So how can you protect yourself from online dating scams?

How to spot dating app scams

Customer red flags

Here’s what to watch out for to avoid being scammed when looking for love.

1. They ask for money

An online dating scammer will almost always ask you to send them money through apps like Cash App, PayPal, and Venmo. They usually have a reason at hand, but one of the most common is that their money is tied to a huge business transaction.

Another could be a supposedly sick or stuck child overseas. If your online suitor uses these reasons to ask you for money, you can be sure that he is scamming you.

And if their behavior towards you changes after you refuse to give them money, it will confirm that they are scamming you.


2. They ask for something too soon.

Some online dating scammers are bold enough to ask for something, especially money, after connecting with you online for a short while, like after a few weeks, but there is no good 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 by asking you for money upfront.

3. They urgently need help

One of a scammer’s favorite tactics is to create a sense of urgency when he asks you for money, in some cases even demanding it on the assumption that you are a couple and the partners are s help each other.

To this end, scammers usually use emotional manipulation to trick you into giving them what they want. If your online suitor has an emergency that requires you to send them an online payment to get them out of a bind, block them.

Related: Sophisticated Social Media Scams You Should Avoid

4. They blackmail you emotionally

If you seem suspicious or worried about giving money or vouchers to your online suitor, he may resort to emotional blackmail to make you feel bad enough to reconsider.

Some of their favorite lines include:

  • “I thought you cared about me.”
  • “Why should I ask someone else when I can ask my girlfriend/boyfriend? »
  • “The sooner I have the money, the sooner I can come see you.”

5. They ask for sexual content

Woman taking selfie on camera

Sometimes online dating scammers will build trust with you to the point where you feel comfortable enough to send them naked or explicit content.

To oblige you, they will shower you with compliments. Once you share this content with them, they can use it to blackmail you into sending them money indefinitely. This is commonly referred to as “sextortion”.

Never send images or videos of yourself in compromising positions, no matter how much you trust the person.

6. They ask you to buy gift cards for them

In cases where you are unable to send money to your online suitor, they may ask you to send them multiple gift cards instead, so they can sell them for cash.

Some popular gift cards requested by scammers are from major retailers like Target or other brands like Apple. Some retailers have caught on to this trend and will warn you of gift card fraud if you purchase multiple gift cards at once.

7. They ask you to take out a loan

Another way online dating scammers trick you into sending them money is to convince you to take out a loan on their behalf. They may tell you they can’t do it themselves because of credit or immigration issues.

They have no intention of refunding you. Never apply for a loan on behalf of anyone, no matter how much you trust them, to avoid ending up with a debt you can’t pay.

8. They ask for your personal information

Worn black private street sign with white lettering against a concrete wall

Sometimes online dating scammers ask for your personal details, 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, i.e. information that you would not share with a stranger, with anyone you date online

Watch out for red flags when dating online

As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. When you know what to watch out for, you can be better prepared and equipped to know when someone is trying to scam you.

However, this may take time. Just be sure to take your time getting to know someone you’re talking to online, so you can better gauge whether or not their intentions are genuine.

online dating
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