BBB Scam Alert: Phony Dating Websites on the Rise
Posted 07/15/2021

While romance scams are becoming a more well-known tactic of con artists, recent reports to BBB Scam Tracker indicate a rise in a new type of romance scam. Typically, a romance scam consists of a con artist tricking an unsuspecting victim into falling in love and then, conveniently, requiring a substantial amount of money due to a “life crisis.” The love-stricken victim offers to help financially, with some getting scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars.

How the Scam Works

An unsuspecting individual looking to find their significant other discovers a dating service that appears legitimate. The site requests the individual fill out a profile, including personal information such as location, age, name and other miscellaneous details that seem standard for a dating profile. A membership fee is required to use the dating service, so the individual inputs their credit card number to pay for the membership.

After spending a few days on the site, you come to realize that the other people you have matched with are not real. The site is full of phony profiles and pirated photos. After canceling your membership, when discovering the hoax, it may appear that all is well, except that you continue to receive a monthly bill, despite the cancellation.

In some cases, the scam dating site requires you to pay to contact other “daters.” One victim reported joining a dating service where she bought “coins” to chat with other members.

“I was bombarded with messages from nearly 200 different users in only a few days and without even fully filling out a personal profile,” she told BBB Scam Tracker. “I paid for coins three times and was double-charged each time. This site hires operators to steal photos, assume fake identities, and then bombards users with messages to entice them into buying coins to conversate by lying and leading people on

.” How to Spot Fake Dating Websites

• Do your research before you sign up. Research the dating website’s name along with the words “reviews” and “scams” online. Check to see what other people are saying about the site and any issues they may have had, especially when it comes to canceling their service.

• Make sure you understand how the website works. It is not entirely unusual to pay a monthly fee or small fees for individual connections to dating services, but be sure the website is upfront about how their payment system works.

• If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. When signing up for a dating service, if you begin to receive numerous messages from people wanting to meet you before even completing your profile, it is probably a scam. If you encounter someone who makes claims of undying love and devotion immediately after messaging you for the first time; it may be both a sign of an illegitimate website along with a con artist attempting a romance scam.

• Use your credit card to pay for online services and memberships. Credit cards have greater protections, and charges are easier to dispute if they were unauthorized or made for fake services. It is much more difficult, if not impossible, to get your money back if you use a debit card or link your bank account to the service via the bank’s routing number.

• Never give money or personal information to a stranger. Some con artists will ask you for money so they can buy a flight to visit you or for other “noble” reasons. If someone you have never met in person starts asking you for banking information, government ID numbers or requests money wired to them due to a “life crisis,” cut off contact immediately.

Read the BBB Study on romance scams and these romance scam tips to learn more and avoid falling victim.

If you or anyone you know has encountered a fake dating website, file a report on BBB Scam Tracker. Information provided may make the difference in preventing another person from falling victim.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2020, people turned to BBB more than 220 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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Newcomer Guide
Chamber Directory & Map
These premier Chamber publications are widely distributed throughout Nacogdoches County and beyond!
© Copyright 2005-2020 Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.
2516 North St., Nacogdoches, Texas 75965 • (936) 560-5533
Unless otherwise noted, no part of this website may be reproduced without written permission.