Online Dating Scams: How to Avoid Being Scammed or ‘Cat-Fished’

Online Dating Scams:  How to Avoid Being Scammed or ‘Cat-Fished’


Dating sites are popular for many people of all ages seeking love and romance. But are dating sites scams? Most dating sites are legitimate, and they can be a great place to find lasting love. But whether it’s through catfishing, lies, cheating, identity theft, or requests for money, some online daters find a way to scam vulnerable people out of their hard-earned cash.

Read on to learn more about the most common scams with online dating and how to report an online dating scammer.

Common Scams With Online Dating

When it comes to online date scams, there are similar stories that people like to tell to try to get some money fast.

For example, some of the most common online dating scams start with unlikely stories about why someone needs money right away. Often, online dating scammers will say they’re stuck in a foreign country and need you to send a wire transfer.

Sometimes, they will say they’re working overseas or in a faraway state on an oil rig, serving in the military, or stuck in customs or even prison. Some online dating scammers claim to have mounting medical bills due to a family emergency.

Often, they will ask for money with a gift card, iTunes card, bitcoin, or other easy methods of money transfer that is difficult to get back.

Be suspicious if someone you don’t know expresses too much interest too quickly or isn’t ready to meet you in person. Although the attention can seem flattering, someone who won’t video chat, won’t meet you in the flesh, or showers you with praise when they still don’t really know you could very well be an online dating scammer.

How to Report an Online Dating Scammer

If you’re suspicious that the person you’re talking to might be more of an online dating scammer than a potential boyfriend or girlfriend, the first thing you should do is cease all contact.

It might be tempting to pick up the phone, but your time is too precious to waste! Confirm that it’s actually an online dating scam by conducting a reverse image search with the scammer’s profile picture to see if the same one has been uploaded to the internet before. You can also search for similar stories to see if there’s a pattern emerging about a common online dating scam.

When you’re sure you’ve been scammed, report it to the FTC at If you’ve paid the online scammers with credit cards, PayPal, or gift cards, contact the relevant company to try to get your money back.

If it hasn’t been too long, you might be able to get some or all of your money refunded.