Why Online Dating Scammers Target Some People Instead of Others

Why Online Dating Scammers Target Some People Instead of Others

You’ve heard me say it before: “full trust or no trust.”

When you’re in a relationship, you can’t spend your time being paranoid that he’s a liar, a cheater, a criminal, or married. To do so would be absolutely debilitating, thereby negating the value of being in a relationship.

I take a similar approach to dating in which I say that he doesn’t have to “earn your trust.” He is an innocent man until he has done something wrong; he is not presumed guilty and should have to prove his innocence.

As an honest and ethical guy who has taught these principles for years, I stand by them. No one wants to go to work at a company that frisks you every night to see if you stole office supplies and checks your web browser and emails to ensure proper behavior. And no one wants to date a person who treats him/her like a common criminal either.

Hold that idea in your head while you’re reading this brutal article about the worst of the worst: online dating scammers who swindle lonely, trusting people out of their money. 

“The number of romance scams reported to the FTC increased to more than 21,000 in 2018, up from 8,500 in 2015 . People targeted by these scams reported a median loss of $2,600, according to the FTC. Losses are even higher for older age groups, with people 70 and over reporting the biggest median loss at $10,000.

In a typical scenario, a victim meets someone through a dating website or other online space. The person claims to live far away and asks them to wire money for “emergency” costs like a sick relative, a car repair, or even an airline ticket so they can meet up in real life.”

Fact is that people online are no better or worse than other people – they’re the exact same people.

I’ve had this happen to clients before – not on my watch – but before hiring me, and it’s the kind of situation that leaves me angry and speechless. Some people just suck – and they taint the entire medium of online dating due to their tactics. Fact is that people online are no better or worse than other people – they’re the exact same people. The difference is that they have access to you online in a way they don’t in real life. And since pretty much all of us have fallen in love with a face, a profile, a fantasy from a dating site, it is utterly predictable that the loneliest and least experienced among us would be more likely to buy into the bullshit from some sweet talking stranger who says he needs $10K.

Moral of the story is not to give up on online dating or become more paranoid about each and every guy you flirt with – it’s to NEVER SEND MONEY TO A STRANGER – which should be a much easier rule to follow.

Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated below.



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  1. 1

    Google image search is your friend. I uploaded match photos, if I suspected a cat fisher. I have found quite a few phonies that way. I’ve had a few scammers try to reach me via facebook as well.

  2. 2

    My first online experience consisted of someone asking me for $5k to “help their Italian father get heart surgery.” I discovered through a basic Google search that Italy has universal healthcare and this would be covered. I called the person out… and poof… gone. My next two connections encouraged me to run background checks, which I did (and discovered a criminal record…pass). After that, I decided a name search through Spokeo was required before the first date. At the end of these efforts, I noted the men on this particular (free) dating site were not the caliber that I was seeking. I left that site for a paying site, and have never felt the need to background search anyone. I’ve dated several nice guys since and am currently in a relationship! Nope… haven’t checked on him!

  3. 3

    Another great barometer; if you are a “5” being chased by a “10”, it’s a scammer. No exceptions, none,not ever. Some of this is self awareness and being realistic about your own marketability and not falling prey to your own ego, desperation or unrealistic expectations. Some of these people get scammed because they bought into a fantasy and on some level, I think most people know (even if they don’t want to go there) it’s too good to be true. These scammers prey on the desperate, vain and clueless. The 300 pound 45 year old truck driver who believes the hot russian 25 year blonde is really his match because she just needs a “kind man” can’t blame the player but hate the game. The 45 year old “pleasingly plump” real estate agent has nothing in her profiles or photos that would attract the hot younger italian guy who just needs a “nice american woman to talk to” needs to be realistic. These people exploit our worst fears, fantasies and vanity, so I really hold the scammed more accountable than the scammer.

  4. 4

    I suspected a catfisher about a week ago. Replied way quick (possible bot), used words that typical American males between the ages of 25 – 45 would not use (words like radiant), misspelled words (oversea rather than overseas) – misspelled twice.

    And the kicker: worked in intelligence with US government (really) and was “oversea” for 3 months.

    None of that passed the smell test. I reported him and blocked him. I could just see in 3 months that he would have some sort of an “emergency.”

  5. 5
    Mrs Happy

    For lessons in how to scam the scammers I’d recommend YouTube-ing ‘This is what happens when you reply to spam email’, and ‘More adventures in replying to spam’, by James Veitch. (Then watch the ‘James Veitch is a terrible roomate’ video too, just for fun, because the ducks will make your day.)

    1. 5.1

      The ducks were funny, but I’m still laughing about the free toaster bonanza photoshop 🙂

  6. 6

    I love allll the ones who “work” on oil rigs, same story every time…I had one catfish on IG couple of days ago and you could see the profile pic had another person’s name on it and they didn’t even do a good job of scaling the pic to fit the profile pic size. It was hilarious. I always report them to whatever platform…and usually send a message like: nice try C.Fish!!

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