Tinder Scam Tips

What is a romance scam?

Romance scams occur worldwide, as they are a money-making scheme that rakes in millions of dollars each year. The scammer will contact a potential victim, pretending to be someone they are not.

The scammer will use:

anger issues and a need for control

romantic words and over-the-top promises

demands for money

and fear that if they fail to get their way, they will never find love.

At first, the scammer will just contact a potential victim and say that they’re “straight-looking” but they’re “taken with them.” The victim will then be asked to send money to cover hotel stays, flights, and other expenses, in order to meet for the first time.

Red flags of a romance scam

Instead of setting up a profile on a dating website, the scammer posts a classified advertisement for a romantic partner, enticing lonely people to send money, sometimes a lot of money, for supposed love letters or even romance. It all starts with a phone call, and soon the call becomes persistent and eventually leads to the victim spending money on flights, hotels, and even expensive meals and shopping excursions that are never delivered. The victim is emotionally vulnerable and the scammer usually has money and often a large one at that, thus persuading the victim to meet. Some of the victims have even sent hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases.

How do romance scams work?

The goal of the romance scammer is to lure victims in by portraying themselves as a caring partner. Typically, the scammer will use carefully crafted online dating profiles and Internet chat rooms. Sometimes the scammer will befriend the victim and then quickly claim that they need money in order to take care of an urgent financial problem. The romance scammer will insist that they need the money sent via Western Union, Moneygram, or other Western Union branch, or wired by PayPal. In some cases, the scammer can use the victims’ bank account information and access their bank accounts.

While most romance scams occur between dating partners, scammers can also meet victims through online dating services like eHarmony or Match.com.

Signs to avoid being scammed

1. Scammers target people who are trying to buy a vacation or homeshare. Once someone gets scammed, they try to get all the money back by charging you international or pre-paid cell phone plans, canceling your credit cards, or using your bank account.

2. You have been approached through a friend or family member.

3. The person contacts you via phone, email, text message, social media, or other online platform, claiming to be a victim of the crime you are trying to avoid.

4. The person requests that you send money, including wiring money or using wire transfer, prepaid debit cards, or gift cards.

5. The person asks for a minimum amount of money in order for the scammer to help you.

6. The person demands immediate payment, particularly money wired using a wire transfer service.