Watch Out For These Latest Online Dating Scams

Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions, and if you’re single, it’s likely one of your resolutions is to find love.

As a professional matchmaker, I have a lot of people asking me for help this time of year. The same is true for online dating sites and apps -- many see a spike in traffic, especially on the first Sunday after New Year’s Day. It’s their Super Bowl of sorts. However, with that increased traffic comes an increased opportunity for scammers.

Here are some of the latest romance scams:

Fake Military Members

One of the biggest problems online daters face is catfishing -- or when someone lies about their age, looks, or job. Unfortunately, more and more catfishers are posing as fake military members in order to con unsuspecting people out of money. These people will say they’re deployed somewhere overseas and need money in order to come home. It’s become so rampant, the U.S. Army is now warning people about it.

A good rule of thumb -- if anyone you meet through an online dating site or app claims to be in the military and asks for money, beware!

“Sextortion”

Another scam is “sextortion.” This is when scammers ask victims to send compromising photos of themselves. They then blackmail victims to either send them money or they’ll post those intimate pictures online. As such, just avoid “sexting” in general.

Here are some ways singles can protect themselves from con artists:

1) Do Your Research

First, do your research! There’s a lot you can learn about people just by Googling them.

You can also do a Google image search to see if the picture of your potential suitor comes up multiple times under multiple names. That’s a big red flag that you’re likely dealing with a scammer or catfisher.

It’s one of the reasons why all of our matchmakers at LUMA meet face-to-face with our clients, so we can vet them in person.

2) Beware “Too Shy” / “Too Fast” Daters

And speaking of meeting in person, beware of daters who say they’re too shy to either talk on the phone, through video chat, or in person. Hindering or delaying that kind of in-person contact should be a big red flag.

At the same time -- beware of anyone who takes things at lightning speed and jumps from, “we just met” to “you’re my everything.”

This is not to say love at first sight isn’t real. But if those words and actions are followed by a plea for money, watch out.

3) Protect Your Privacy

Finally, stick to reputable sites and matchmaking companies.

If you’ve just met someone online and he or she asks you to start instant messaging them privately versus through the public, monitored site or controlled matchmaker environment, he or she could be shady.

And remember, it’s best to avoid giving out a lot of personal details until you’ve done your research and have met that potential special someone in person.

What other scams do you know of? Do you have any other tips on how people can stay safe while dating? Please share them with us below to help others be aware!