How to Spot a Romance Scammer

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Scammers almost always need to misrepresent who they really are. Use the following tips to check if someone is who they say they are.

  1. Check their photo in Google images. Does it belong to someone else, e.g. different name, age and/or location?
  2. Does their photo match any physical descriptions on their dating profile – hair colour, eye colour etc?
  3. Does their ‘ethnic origin’ on the website make sense? Often scammers choose ‘native American’ on American dating sites without understanding what this ethnic background is.
  4. Does their profile suggest they are not choosy at all about who they meet – for example an extremely large age group of people, or over a really large geographic area?
  5. Check the contents of their profile. Are their multiple errors? Does it sound like English isn’t their first language? Is there incorrect punctuation and bad grammar? Is the language flowery, and full of romantic language about trust, honesty and sincerity?
  6. Ask conversational questions which require local knowledge to answer, e.g. knowledge of local bars and restaurants, sports teams, local issues. If someone has a story for why they can’t answer (e.g. working overseas) then beware!
  7. If you are connected on Facebook check their friends. Do their friends appear to be genuine Facebook accounts? Do they tag each other in photos? Have they checked into local places? Do they interact with each other in posts and comments?
  8. Remember a UK mobile number does not mean they are located in the UK! Scammers can get hold of UK sim cards, or get a UK number on Whatsapp. 070 numbers are not mobile numbers, they are premium rate re-directable numbers and should be a red flag!
  9. Put sections of their profile text in quotes and search for it on Google. Has it been used by scammers reported to the various online scammer forums?
  10. Scammers will almost always try to move you onto a different messaging system, before the dating site detects that they are a scammer. If your prospective date is keen to move you away from the dating site, for example to Facebook, Whatsapp, Kik, SMS, Yahoo Messenger, Skype, or another messaging platform, insist that you get to know each other using the dating site’s messaging system. If they genuinely like you then they have no good reason not to do this.
  11. Apply caution if someone says he is an engineer, oil worker or in the military and uses this as excuse to travel, and therefore be unreliable getting back to you.
  12. Never ever give money to anyone you meet online, no matter how convincing they seem. You yourself would never need to borrow money from a stranger on a dating site, and neither would a genuine person. This applies to ‘emergency’ scenarios. Any genuine person who has an emergency will contact their friends or family, not someone they have never met in real life.

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