The five most common online dating scams

Jun 28, 2012 14:55:52Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

The five most common online dating scams

By now, you probably have met someone who got lucky in love with the help of an online dating site. However, before you create your own profile, it's wise to make yourself aware of the most common types of scams aimed at online daters. Falling prey to one of these cons could compromise your internet security and cause a major headache down the line.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid these scams. According to, using a second phone number and email address can put a good buffer between yourself and potential scammers. Avoid giving out your home address as well, even if it means you have to drive yourself to your first date.

But the best way to protect yourself from scams is to be vigilant and know what you're up against. Here are five of the most common scams daters should look out for, according to

Nigeria/Ghana emergency

This is one of the most popular scams, and if you've spent enough time surfing the web, you may already be familiar with some variation of it. In short, scammers spend time developing a romantic relationship with a trusting individual. After weeks or a month, they claim to be experiencing an emergency in their home country, most often Nigeria or Ghana, and the only solution to their problem is money - specifically, your money. Lovers beware: if you send a payment, you won't see it or hear from your online date again.

Money for plane ticket/visa

This story line usually involves a person from a foreign country who wants to come and visit you, but needs money for a plane ticket or a visa. Some scammers go as far as sending pictures of fake tickets, claiming they only want reimbursement, so be cautious in this situation.

Sudden medical emergency

Similar to the Nigeria and Ghana ploy, this scammer likely takes the time to get to know a person, then will claim to have developed a fictitious illness and, of course, they need money to get surgery or treatment. These scams can sometimes go on for months, with the scammer continuously taking money to fund their non-existent medical bills.

Fictitious police ploy

In certain cases, scammers can tell if a person is on to them. If they assume the person has contacted the authorities, they may try to send an email acting as the police. If you find an email like this, especially one that asks for money so police can arrest the scammer, do not respond.

Money order requests

Usually, a person who asks for a money order puts in a great deal of time beforehand to get to know a person. They have likely talked to the victim for months, gaining their trust. These scams can start at any point in an online relationship, and you should always think twice before wiring money to someone you have never met face to face.