What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed on a Dating App

woman looking at phone concerned with scam alert

Would you be surprised to find out that nearly 25% of people using dating apps have reported being scammed at least once? Probably not, but it is a shockingly large percentage of unsuspecting people who were looking for love online but were taken advantage of instead. It’s an unfortunate reality—trying to find love can come with a price tag that can shake your faith in yourself and in other human beings.

But knowing that it can happen is half the battle—the other half is knowing what to do if you’ve been scammed. And it isn’t just important for your bank account and credit report but also for your emotional well-being. Knowing how to respond and recoup what was taken from you can help you regain control and protect yourself in the future.

Scammers are out there looking to prey on the vulnerable, so you need to know what immediate actions you have to take after finding out you’ve been scammed, how to report it to the appropriate authorities, steps for recovery, and the preventive measures to take so it doesn’t happen to you again!

Recognizing You’ve Been Scammed

Finding out that you’ve fallen victim to a scam on a dating app is a gut punch—you may feel dumb, you could blame yourself—it’s a terrible experience. But you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself, as scammers are getting more and more sophisticated. If you know the common tactics they use to deceive their victims, you can spot them. The following are some of the most prevalent scams you could encounter.

heart with scam sign

Romance Scams

Romance scams are perhaps the most emotionally devastating. Scammers create fake profiles, often with photos of attractive people, to build romantic relationships with their targets. They spend time gaining your trust, and once they feel you are emotionally invested, they start asking for money. They might claim they need money for a sudden emergency, medical expenses, or travel to meet you. The financial losses from these scams can be serious, but the emotional damage is often worse.

wallet on fish hook


Catfishing involves someone creating a fake online persona to lure you into a relationship. While not all catfishing scams result in a direct financial request, they can lead to severe emotional distress. In some cases, catfishers may ask for gifts or financial help, but the primary aim is to maintain a long-term deception. They often refuse to meet in person or make excuses to avoid video calls, making it challenging to verify their identity.

money with scam sign

Financial Scams

These scams focus directly on extracting money from you. This can include requests for loans, investments, or payments for fake services. Some scammers might even send you a fake check, asking you to deposit it and send a portion back, only for the check to bounce later. Cryptocurrency scams are also becoming more common, where scammers persuade victims to invest in bogus crypto schemes.

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Identity Theft

Identity theft scams on dating apps usually start out with requests for personal information. Scammers might ask for your full name, address, and even copies of your ID or social security number under the guise of verifying your profile or planning a visit. With this information, they can open new credit accounts, take out loans, or engage in other fraudulent activities using their identity.

Red Flags

When using dating apps, it’s super important to stay alert and know the biggest warning signs that indicate you are being scammed. Here are some common red flags to watch out for:

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Requests for Money or Personal Information

One of the most glaring signs of a scam is when someone you’ve met on a dating app starts asking for money or sensitive personal information. Scammers often create urgent situations requiring immediate financial assistance, such as medical emergencies or travel expenses. They may also ask for personal details like your address, social security number, or banking information. Always be cautious of anyone who makes such requests, especially early in the relationship.

red flag with open book

Inconsistencies in Their Story or Lies

Scammers typically struggle to maintain a consistent story. Pay attention to the details of their background, the timelines of events, or their explanations for certain behaviors. If you notice discrepancies or suspect they are lying about their job, location, or other personal details, it’s a strong indicator that something is amiss. Frequent changes to their profile pictures or the creation of new profiles can also be a red flag, as scammers often do this when their accounts are reported or flagged.

red flag with video call

Reluctance to Meet in Person or Video Chat

Another big red flag is a reluctance to meet in person or have a video chat. Scammers often avoid face-to-face meetings or video calls because they can’t back up their fake identities. They might come up with various excuses, such as being in a different country, having a demanding job, or dealing with personal issues that prevent them from meeting up. Genuine people who are interested in a romantic relationship will be willing to meet in person or, at the very least, have a video call to build up trust!

Immediate Actions to Take

Finding out you’ve been scammed on a dating app can shake you to your core—it’s devastating. Even though you are hurt and shaken, you have to act quickly to help limit the fallout and get on the road to recovery. Here’s what you need to do ASAP:

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Stop All Communication

The first and most important step is to cease and desist all contact with the scammer immediately. Block their phone number, email address, and any social media or dating profiles they used to reach you. This prevents them from manipulating you even further and stops the flow of any additional information or money. Scammers rely on continuous communication to exert emotional pressure and take more resources from their victims.

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Gather Evidence

Collect and save all of the relevant information related to your interactions with the scammer. This means screenshots of messages, emails, transaction receipts, and any other communication. This evidence will be needed when reporting the scam to authorities and financial institutions. Having a detailed record of your interactions can help investigators understand the nature of the scam and hopefully identify the perpetrator.

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Secure Your Accounts

Change the passwords for any accounts that might have been compromised, including your email, social media, and online banking accounts. In fact, just change them all while you’re at it just to be safe. Use strong, unique passwords for each account and enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) when you can. MFA adds more security by requiring a second form of verification, like a text message code or an authentication app, which prevents unauthorized access even if your password has been compromised.


Contact Your Bank

If you’ve sent money to the scammer, inform your bank or credit card company immediately—they may be able to stop the transaction or help you recover the funds. Additionally, monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity and consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report to protect against further financial damage. A fraud alert notifies creditors to take extra steps to verify their identity before opening new accounts or making changes to existing ones.

Reporting the Scam

Once it sinks in that you’ve been scammed on a dating app, it’s important to do something about it—and not just to protect yourself! Reporting can also help save others from falling victim to similar shady schemes. Here’s a detailed guide on how to report the scam:

Report to the Dating App

All mainstream (and most niche) dating apps have systems in place to report suspicious behavior and scams. The following are the steps to take when reporting a scammer on some of the most popular platforms:

Tinder Icon


  1. Open the conversation with the scammer in the app.
  2. Tap the flag icon in the top right corner to report the user.
  3. Select a reason for the report, such as “Scam or Fraud” or “Inappropriate messages.”
  4. Provide any additional information requested by Tinder to help them investigate the case.

eHarmony app


  1. Go to the scammer’s profile.
  2. Click on the three dots at the top right corner of their profile.
  3. Click on the three dots at the top right corner of their profile.
  4. Select “Report this profile” and choose the reason for reporting.
  5. Submit the report with any and all relevant details.

Bumble Icon


  1. Open the conversation with the scammer.
  2. Tap the three dots in the top right corner.
  3. Select “Block & Report.”
  4. Choose the reason for reporting, such as “Fraud” or “Suspicious activity.”
  5. Add any additional comments and submit the report.

OkCupid Icon


  1. Go to the scammer’s profile.
  2. Click on the three dots at the top right corner.
  3. Select “Report.”
  4. Choose the appropriate reason, like “Scammer” or “Fraud.”
  5. Submit the report with any additional information.

Hinge Icon


  1. Open the conversation with the scammer.
  2. Tap the three dots in the top right corner.
  3. Select “Report.”
  4. Choose the reason, such as “Scammer” or “Fraudulent behavior.”
  5. Provide any additional details and submit the report.

By reporting the scammer directly to the dating app, you are helping them take action to remove the fraudulent account and protect other users from being scammed.

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Contact Your Local Authorities

Inform your local police department about the scam. Yes, we know there are much more serious crimes happening in the world, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t report a scammer to the authorities! Give them all the evidence you’ve collected, including screenshots of conversations, emails, and transaction receipts. Filing a police report is necessary as it creates an official record of the crime, which may be necessary for further investigations and legal proceedings.

Report to National and International Agencies

In addition to contacting local authorities, reporting to national and international agencies can help in tracking and combating fraud on a larger scale—a lot of scammers operate from overseas. Here are the agencies you can contact:

Federal Trade Commission

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US

  • Visit the FTC’s website at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
  • Click on “Report Now” and follow the prompts to file your report.
  • Provide as much detail as possible about the scam, including any evidence you have.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

  • Visit the IC3’s website at IC3.gov.
  • Click on “File a Complaint” and follow the instructions.
  • Fill out the form with detailed information about the scam, including the scammer’s information and your evidence.

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Your Country’s Consumer Protection Agency

All countries have consumer protection agencies that handle fraud and scams. Look up the relevant agencies in your country and follow their procedures to report scams. For example:

Inform Online Scam Databases

Reporting scams to online scam databases helps track and publicly list scammer profiles. These databases collect information on various scams and alert users about potential threats. The most reputable databases include:

scam watch


  • Go to scamwatch.gov.au (for Australia).
  • Click on “Report a scam” and follow the instructions.
  • Provide detailed information about the scam and submit your report.

better business bureau scam tracker

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker

  • Visit the BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.
  • Click on “Report a Scam” and fill out the form.
  • Provide as much detail as possible and submit your report.



  • Go to fightcybercrime.org.
  • Select “Report a Cybercrime” and fill out the form.
  • Provide comprehensive details about the scam.

By reporting to these databases, you help raise awareness and protect other potential victims from falling for similar scams.

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Why Reporting is Important

Reporting scams not only aids in catching the perpetrators but also helps authorities and organizations track patterns and prevent future fraud. Each report adds to the database of information that can be used to understand and combat cybercrime more effectively. It also supports broader efforts to raise awareness and educate the public about the dangers of online scams.

Recovering from the Scam

The path to recovery when you’ve been scammed is not an easy one—it’s traumatic. Although it will take some time to heal, you will get there! In the meantime, you can pick your wounds and take the necessary steps to tackle both the emotional toll and financial impact the scammer has inflicted upon you. You can start small, but you have to start somewhere.

hands holding hearts

Emotional Support

Sharing what is happening with close friends or family members can give you an outlet and provide some much-needed relief—carrying it around by yourself is a heavy burden. They can offer emotional support and practical advice. Choose those who will listen without judgment and help you feel better, not worse. Avoid the kind of people who make you feel guilty or embarrassed about what happened—like that one holier-than-thou friend (we all have one of those).

two minds linked

Get Professional Counseling & Look for Support Groups

If the emotional impact is too overwhelming to handle on your own, you should get professional help. Therapists and counselors can help you process your feelings, develop coping strategies, and work through any anxiety or depression resulting from the scam. Support groups for scam victims, like those offered by SCARS (Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams), provide a community where you can share your experience with others who understand exactly what you are going through and can be there with mutual support.

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Financial Recovery

If you’ve sent money to a scammer, contact your bank or credit card company immediately. Explain the situation and request to file a fraud claim—banks can often reverse unauthorized transactions if reported promptly. Then, keep an eye on your accounts for any suspicious activity.

justice scale

Exploring Legal Options if Necessary

In some cases, you may need to explore legal options to recover lost funds, so consulting with a lawyer to understand your rights and potential legal actions against the scammer is a smart move. While recovery through legal means is somewhat challenging, it’s sometimes possible, especially if the scam involves large financial loss.

shield with hand and hazard sign

Identity Theft Prevention

If your personal info has been compromised, regularly check your credit reports for any unusual activity. You can get free annual credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Look for any accounts you didn’t open or unexplained inquiries on your credit report.

hazard sign on top of credit cards

Place a Fraud Alert or Freeze on Your Credit

You should put a fraud alert or a credit freeze in place to protect against identity theft. A fraud alert notifies creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before opening new accounts. A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report, making it harder for identity thieves to open accounts in your name. These measures can help prevent further misuse of your personal information.

man trusting his instincts

Notify Identity Theft Protection Services

If you suspect identity theft, report it to identity theft protection services. Websites like IdentityTheft.gov provide resources and personalized recovery plans to help you address the issue. They can assist in reporting the theft, recovering your identity, and preventing further damage.

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Additional Steps for Recovery

Education is so important in preventing future scams, so stay informed about the most common scams and tactics used by shady figures. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to recognize and avoid potential scams.

hands hugging heart

Practice Self-Care

The emotional turmoil of being scammed can be severe, so take care of yourself. Do things that promote your well-being, like regular exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep. Although it’s hard, try to avoid playing the self-blame game and focus on steps to move forward. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help mitigate the stress and anxiety associated with the experience.

By following these steps, you can start the recovery process and protect yourself from further harm. Remember, you’re not alone—so many people have experienced similar situations and found ways to recover and rebuild their lives.

Preventing Future Scams

After falling victim to a dating app scam, it’s natural to feel super cautious about online dating! But don’t throw in the towel just yet—if you take proactive steps, you can protect yourself from future scams and make sure you have a safe online dating experience. Here’s how you can prevent future scams:

light bulb in open book

Educate Yourself on Common Online Dating Scams and Tactics

Knowledge is your first line of defense against scammers. Familiarize yourself with common online dating scams and the tactics fraudsters use. Romance scams, where the scammer builds a fake romantic relationship to gain trust and then asks for money, are prevalent. Catfishing is another common scam where someone creates a fake online identity to deceive others. Financial scams often involve the scammer requesting money for emergencies, travel, or medical expenses.

Scammers often play on emotions, creating a sense of urgency or portraying themselves as victims of unfortunate circumstances. By understanding these tactics, you can be more vigilant and recognize red flags early.

magnifying glass over hazard sign

Tips for Verifying the Identity of Someone You Meet Online

  • Reverse Image Searches: One effective method to verify someone’s identity is to perform a reverse image search. This can help determine if the profile pictures they are using have been taken from elsewhere on the internet. You can use Google Images or services like TinEye to perform these searches. If the images appear on multiple websites or are linked to different names, it’s a red flag that the profile is probably a fake.
  • Video Chats: Scammers avoid live interactions. Insist on video chatting before getting emotionally invested—a legit match will be more than happy to jump on a video call, which helps confirm they are who they claim to be. If they consistently make excuses to avoid video calls, be very wary.
  • Checking Social Media Profiles: Look for consistency in their social media presence. Genuine profiles usually have a history, connections, and posts that match the information they’ve shared with you. If their profiles are new, they have very few or no friends, or they lack personal posts, these could be signs of a fake account.
  • Social Catfish App: Consider using verification services like Social Catfish, which helps verify if the person you’re talking to is real. These services can check for linked social media accounts, phone numbers, and other identifiers to confirm someone’s identity.
stop sign on id and passport

Protect Personal Information: What Not to Share on Dating Apps and with New Matches

Always be cautious about the info you share on dating apps. Avoid sharing personal details such as your home address, phone number, workplace, or any financial information. Scammers can use this information for identity theft or to manipulate you further. Keep conversations on the dating app until you are sure about the person’s intentions.

apps on smart phone

Use Built-In Safety Features of Dating Apps

  • Verified Profiles: Many dating apps offer profile verification features. Verified profiles often have a badge indicating that the user’s identity has been confirmed by the app. Prioritize interacting with verified profiles, as they are generally more reliable and less likely to be scams.
  • Reporting and Blocking Tools: If you encounter suspicious behavior, use the app’s reporting and blocking tools. Reporting a scammer helps the app administrators investigate and take action against fraudulent accounts. Blocking ensures that the scammer cannot contact you further. Familiarize yourself with these tools, and don’t hesitate to use them if needed.
no scammers

Keep Up-to-Date with the Latest Scams and Safety Advice

Scammers are constantly evolving their tactics, so keep informed about the latest scams and safety advice by following news updates, subscribing to alerts from consumer protection agencies, and reading articles from reputable sources. Websites like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Scamwatch, and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) provide valuable information on current scams and tips for staying safe online.

Regularly educating yourself and staying updated can help you recognize new scam tactics and protect yourself much more effectively. Preventing future scams involves a combination of awareness, vigilance, and proactive measures. By educating yourself on common scams, verifying the identities of people you meet online, protecting your personal information, utilizing dating app safety features, and staying informed about the latest scam tactics, you can greatly reduce the risk of falling victim to online dating scams again. Always trust your instincts and prioritize your safety when using dating apps!

Resources and Support

Recovering from a scam involves not only addressing financial and identity issues but also getting emotional support! Here are various resources and organizations that can help you:


Support Organizations

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Helplines and Hotlines

  • AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline: Provides support and advice to scam victims. Phone: 877-908-3360.
  • Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC): Free assistance for identity theft victims. Phone: 888-400-5530.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Response Center: Assists with reporting scams and getting advice. Phone: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
  • National Fraud Information Center: Provides advice and referrals for fraud-related concerns. Phone: 1-800-876-7060.
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB): Assistance with business-related (includes dating apps) scams. Phone: 703-276-0100.
  • Victim Connect Resource Center: Confidential assistance to crime victims. Phone: 1-855-4-VICTIM (1-855-484-2846).
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Consumer Help Center: Provides resources and help for dealing with telemarketing and other scams. Phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).

Further Reading

By utilizing these resources, you can get the support you need and educate yourself further on preventing and dealing with scams.

Final Thoughts

Dating app scams are on the rise—it’s a sad fact but one that needs to be faced head-on. You can’t bury your head in the sand and think, “it can’t happen to me,” because it can. Be smart and know the signs! 

Know that you are not alone in this—so many people looking for love have been hoodwinked, and it is NOT a reflection of you—it is a reflection of the scammer. There are a lot of resources and organizations that can help you recover and keep yourself safe from future scams, so reach out and take advantage of the support available!

If you have been the victim of a dating app scam, we’d like to hear about your experience if you’re willing to share it. Remember, stay on your toes out there—the dating app world is a wonderful place, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t bad apples looking to take advantage of people with good hearts.

Molly Davis
Molly Davis

Molly is an East Coast writer who lives on West Coast time. She’s been in the journalism field for over 20 years — newspapers are her first love but she’s finding digital media to be just as fun and challenging as print! When she’s not giving therapist-quality dating advice, she’s curled up watching movies, reading, or volunteering at local dog shelters.