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How To Spot A Romance Scammer Online?

How To Spot A Romance Scammer Online?

Date First Published: 22nd May 2024

Topic: Cybersecurity

Subtopic: Threats To Systems, Data & Information

Article Type: Computer Questions & Answers

Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty Level: 3/10

Learn about how to spot a romance scammer online in this article.

Romance scammers trick you into giving away money or your personal details by trying to establish a bond with you quickly and pretending to have a deep connection with you. Each year, more people lose money by falling for romance scams than any other types of online scams, such as technical support scams. Below are ten signs of a romance scammer and how to avoid getting scammed.

1. They Try To Establish A Bond Quickly

Romance scammers often try to establish a bond quickly to exploit other people and move on. They may say that they feel a deep connection to you, express strong emotions, or flood you with compliments when you have only just started messaging them, leading to the relationship moving very quickly. This is a tactic they use to get you to give away your personal details and money.

2. They Ask For Money

If someone you've never met in person is asking you for money very soon, that is a sign they're a romance scammer. They may ask for money for emergencies or travel. However, the scenario is often made up and they are only doing it for financial gain. They will often send the same messages to multiple people to maximise their chances of success.

3. They Avoid Video Calls Or Meeting In Person

If you've been messaging someone for a long time and have decided to commit to a relationship with them, it would make sense to meet them in person or have a video call. A romance scammer would never agree to meet someone in person or have a video call as it would immediately expose their identity.

Scammers often make up excuses, like saying that they don't have a camera or they don't have enough time. They may also agree to meet up but never turn up. If the relationship was genuine, they would be desperate to meet you in person or have a video call.

4. They Prefer To Move Communications Away From Online Dating Sites

It is common for romance scammers to try to move communication away from online dating sites. Often, they want to move communications to another app, like WhatsApp, or message you by text messages. This helps them avoid the security measures of online dating sites. They do this so that the online dating site has no proof of them trying to scam you.

When you have been messaging someone for a long time, you will want to move beyond the dating site and use other forms of communication. But, romance scammers often want to move beyond the dating site as soon as possible.

5. Their Profile Looks Too Good To Be True

If the person seems to look unrealistic (e.g. they seem to be completely flawless with a perfect lifestyle or their life stories sound too good to be true), there is a high chance that they are a scammer. Scammers often make themselves look much better than they are to get people to trust them.

6. They Don't Have Many Friends Or Followers

On social media sites, if you notice that someone is following a lot more people than are following them or they don't have many friends on their friend list, there is a higher chance that they are a romance scammer. This is because they may have created a bot that automatically follows other people in the hope that they will follow them back in an effort to inflate their follower count. This is a common tactic used by scammers to get people to discover them.

Another reason why scammers often don't have many friends or followers is to reduce the chances of getting caught. The more friends or followers a scammer has, the more likely someone will ask questions in regard to their identity and discover that their account is designed to scam people and report it.

7. They Use A Fake Profile Picture

Romance scammers will rarely upload pictures of themselves. Instead, they will often use pictures from other sources on the internet of other people. You can find out if the profile picture can be found elsewhere. You can use Google reverse image search or TinEye to find similar pictures to the one they use and find out the source.

If the profile picture is real, it is unlikely that it will appear on other sites, except for their other social media profiles. If you can find them elsewhere, check to see if they appear to be the same person. If someone is using pictures of someone else, it is more likely that they are out to scam people. Fake profile pictures will appear on other sites, often professional stock photo sites.

8. Their Profile Is Very Recently Created

If their profile is very recently created, it is more likely that they are a romance scammer. Scammers usually create fake profiles to find new people to scam and they are often not up for a long time. This is because once enough people are aware that they are a scammer, the profile is usually reported and it gets removed. However, a recently created profile could just mean that someone is new to the site, so don't rely on the profile creation date itself to spot a romance scammer.

9. Their Profile Is Incomplete

Romance scammers often use fake information to create accounts and don't provide much information on their profiles. If you notice that their profile has very little information about themselves or they don't have any connections to social media accounts, it is more likely that they are a scammer.

10. They Ask For Explicit Images Or Videos

Romance scammers will often request this to obtain sensitive images or videos of you to blackmail you later. They may be trying to take money from you or force you to do something else you don't want to. If someone you have never met in person asks for explicit images or videos, they are most likely a scammer. If they continue asking, block them from sending you messages and report them.

How To Avoid Getting Scammed?

Below are five ways to avoid falling for a romance scam.

  • Trust your instincts - The more you know about romance scams, the more easily you will be able to spot romance scammers. Pay attention to the signs outlined above and trust your instincts. If someone looks suspicious, then they probably are.
  • Do not share personal details too soon - It is never a good idea to share personal details with someone you know online and have never met in person because you don't know what they will do with them.
  • Do not send money to someone you don't know - Never send money to someone you only know online and have never met in person, no matter what reason they give.
  • Stay where the conversation started - Avoid leaving an online dating site or moving communications elsewhere until you are ready or have met in person.
  • Research the person - People on online dating sites often have profiles on social media. You can find them on social media by reverse-searching their images and seeing where they appear. If the images they are using come from professional stock photo sites, they are likely a scammer.


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