What You Need to Know About Online Dating Scams and How to Avoid Them

dangers of online dating

In 2016, $220 million was lost as a result of online dating scams, and reports of the scams to the FBI have tripled over a 5-year span. Scammers know that millions of people use online dating sites now, so they create fake profiles to hide behind. It’s important for everyone to be aware of online dating scams. Read on to find out more about the signs of online dating scams and how to avoid them.

What is an Online Dating Scam?

girl online dating with boyMillions of Americans are using dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people. Unfortunately, scammers use these sites as well to meet potential victims. By creating fake profiles, they build online relationships and eventually convince people to send money. If an online love interest asks you for money, it’s a scam.

Signs of an Online Dating Scam

It’s important to keep an eye out for any warning signs that you’re being scammed when using online dating sites. Here are some of the most common signs of an online dating scam:

  • dating app on phoneThey profess their love quickly
  • They want to leave the dating site immediately and push you to use your personal email instead
  • They claim to be from the United States but are traveling or working overseas
  • Say they need money for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel
  • They make plans to visit but can’t because of an emergency (traumatic event, business deal gone sour, etc.)

To protect your own safety, never wire money to cover travel, medical emergencies, hotel bills, hospital bills, visas or official documents, or losses from a temporary setback. One request always leads to another, and in the end, both your money and your online love interest will be gone.

What to Do if You’re Being Scammed

love keys on keyboard with broken heartIf you’re suspicious that you’re being scammed or have sent money to the scammer, there are a few steps you should take.

  1. Slow down and talk to someone you trust. Don’t let yourself be rushed by a scammer.
  2. Never send money to an online love interest. Don’t wire money, put money on a gift card or cash reload card, or send cash to someone you met online. You won’t get this money back.
  3. Contact your bank right away. If you do make the mistake of sending money to an online dating scammer, reach out to your bank immediately and alert them about the issue.
  4. Report your experience. If you’ve been the victim of an online dating scam, you need to report your experience to the online dating site, the Federal Trade Commission , and the Federal Bureau of Investigation .

When participating in online dating, please keep these tips for avoiding scams in mind to protect both your money and yourself.

About Tennessee State Bank

Tennessee State Bank has been serving our local community for over 45 years. With branches in Sevier County, Knox County, Cocke County, and Jefferson County, we offer convenient banking services in East Tennessee. Whether you’re looking to open a checking account, obtain an auto loan, or apply for a home mortgage, we make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. Tennessee State Bank’s motto is “Banking at its Best!”SM, and we strive to live up to that creed every day. Let us know how we can help you by sending us a message via our Contact Form.

Tennessee State Bank is Member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender.



“Online Dating Scams.” American Bankers Association. https://www.aba.com/Tools/Infographics/Pages/Infographic-Online-Dating-Scams.aspx.

“Online Dating Scams.” Federal Trade Commission. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0004-online-dating-scams.