Dating apps are certainly more popular than ever before. By some estimates, as much as 30% of the American adult population has used a dating app at some point, and 11% of the population has even met a committed partner through an app. However, while dating apps can be extremely helpful in allowing someone to find love, they can also be a great place for people to create scams. Here are four scams you should be looking out for if you’re using a dating app.
1. Gift Card Scams
This is one of the simplest ways for people to scam you out of your money, largely because it can be very difficult to realize whether or not you’re getting scammed. In this scam, someone will ask for gift cards to help them pay something. Whatever they’re asking for payment about is irrelevant; either way, they’re probably just trying to scam you.
Gift cards are an effective method of scamming because they’re an untraceable form of payment and the scammers can claim they’re for just about anything. You might be more comfortable sending gift cards over sending cash because you believe they’re more “legitimate,” but the scammers will just sell the gift cards and get the cash anyway.
2. Romance Scams
“Romance scams” are a large, overarching category of scams that can cover a variety of behaviors. However, the most common element of this scam is that someone builds a seemingly real relationship with you, all with the goal of getting as much money out of you as possible. They often request money for emergencies like car problems and sickness, creating a realistic scenario that “only you can fix.”
This problem has become overwhelming, being the costliest scam reported to the FTC in 2019. Coming in at a whopping $201 million lost, romance scams are a huge problem, and they’re only going to get worse over time. One of the best ways to avoid romance scams—and the way the FTC recommends—is just to never send money to a romantic partner you haven’t met in person.
3. Talking Off the App Immediately
It makes sense to eventually transition into talking off the dating app you met on. Most couples will eventually exchange phone numbers, and that’s completely normal. However, be wary if someone wants to exchange phone numbers extremely early. They may just be trying to move you to a form of communication that’s more difficult to track.
Avoid giving your communication information off the app to someone with whom you haven’t spent a decent amount of time already. Many people prefer not to give their phone numbers to people they haven’t met up with in person, for example. The more you talk with someone on the app, the more likely you’ll be to be able to report them if something bad does happen.
Catfishing is one of the oldest dating scams in the book. However, catfishing takes on an extra-harmful bent when it’s used to scam someone out of their money. With catfishing, someone pretends to be a completely different person, with a different name, a made-up life story, and a picture they lifted off the internet. From there, they can proceed to build a fake relationship with you, all while escaping the consequences for their actions once they get out of it.
There are many possible ways to determine whether someone is catfishing. One of the best tools you can have at your disposal is PeopleFinders. Typically, a dating app will allow you to get some information about someone up front, which you can use as part of a people search to determine whether the person is real or not. If you find the person you’re looking for on PeopleFinders, you can then use that profile’s information to make sure the information you’re receiving lines up, allowing you to catch a catfish in the act.
Dating apps can be an amazing place to find a partner, but their ease of access means they’re also a great place to put out scams. If you’re interested in starting to use a dating app, you should make sure you’re familiar with all these scams. With PeopleFinders as a guide and a bit of information about dating scams as a whole, you can look out for all different types of dating scams more easily.
Image Attribution: Andrey Popov – stock.adobe.com