How to spot a scammer

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How to spot a scammer

eharmony works hard to identify and remove potential scammers but when you’re looking for love online it’s always wise to stay vigilant. Here’s how to spot a scammer

What is a scammer?

A scammer is a person or group of people intentionally deceiving or manipulating others for financial gain.

How to safeguard against scammers

At eharmony, we work hard to identify potential scammers before they even have a chance to sign up. Our dedicated Trust & Safety team works seven days a week to detect and, whenever possible, prevent instances of fraudulent activity. We’re happy to confirm that the vast majority of eharmony members are legitimate users looking to find lasting love, and fraudulent activity accounts for a tiny fraction of our overall membership.

However, whether you’re looking for love on eharmony or another dating app, it’s always wise to stay vigilant and learn how to spot a scammer.

Suspicious behaviour to look out for

  • Have they asked for your bank details?
  • Are they offering any paid services?
  • Do they claim to be stationed abroad or do they say they’re travelling frequently?
  • Have they asked you to click on links to other websites?
  • Do they forcefully ask for your personal information?

Scammers are often based abroad and can work in gangs with different members taking turns to respond to messages. Look out for messages that are sent at unusual hours of the day or night and, after a few weeks, if they refuse to meet in person or speak on the phone, it’s a red flag.

Start dating differently

Unfortunately, some scammers play a very long game. Just because someone speaks to you for weeks, or even months, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re genuine. In fact, the longer you speak online without any face-to-face contact, the warier you should be. Scammers are excellent manipulators and know that it takes time to build up trust.

Watch out if you start to feel pressured or emotionally manipulated by a match. No-one should make you feel uncomfortable, guilty for taking time to reply, or like you owe them something – especially if you’ve never met!

Language used by scammers

If you suspect you may be exchanging messages with a scammer, there are certain language cues that all scammers tend to share.

Watch out for messages that are overly romantic – especially if you’ve not been talking for very long – and the frequent use of words such as honesty, trustworthy, loving, and caring.

Many scammers are also based outside of the UK, so they may use unusual syntax in their messages despite claiming to be native English-speakers. Look out for sentences with words in the wrong order and missing words, or messages that repeat the same phrases.

Start dating differently

Pay attention to the details in their emails too. Do they contradict themselves? Are there inconsistencies in what they say? It may be that a sick sister has now become a cousin or a business trip to Frankfurt suddenly becomes a weekend away in Rome. The inconsistencies may be small but they all add up to someone that is probably not being completely honest with you.

How to report a suspected scammer

If you suspect you’re speaking to a scammer, we urge you to report them to eharmony immediately. You can report the match directly from their profile page or from the conversation screen. Simply click on the three dots by their profile photo or in the top right-hand corner in the conversation screen and select the ‘Report This Match’ option. Once reported, this information will be sent directly to eharmony’s Trust & Safety team for review. Please be assured that all reports are kept completely confidential.

Staying safe when online dating

When communicating online, remember that the people you’re interacting with – regardless of their good intentions – are strangers. Emailing can create a false sense of intimacy. It can be easy to inadvertently send personal details or even compromising images.

Firstly, always use the eharmony messaging platform. It’s safe and secure. Try to avoid sending any personal information such as your address, exact place of work, surname or date of birth before you meet and get to know one another better. The same goes with intimate images. Consider whether the photos you share could be used against you or to exploit you before hitting send.

Be suspicious if anyone ever asks you for money in a message. Even if it’s a small amount. Scam requests often start off small – £50 for a train ticket, for example – and quickly escalate.

For further advice on staying safe while online dating, check out our top tips here.


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