Online dating scams have been around for years. If you’ve been scammed and want your money back, here’s how to approach it.
It’s no mystery that online dating has its benefits. In fact, thousands of people meet the love of their life on dating websites every day.
However, sometimes it can go south quickly if you’re caught up with a scammer. They can be very deceptive, so if you’ve been scammed, don’t be embarrassed; you’re not the only one.
To put it into perspective, hundreds of millions were taken from unsuspecting victims’ bank accounts in 2020 alone, according to the FTC.
Online dating scams come in all different forms; some are slow brewing and steal small amounts over time. Yet, others move so fast that you wake up to your life savings gone.
It’s intimidating, that’s for sure. If you’ve gotten swindled with any amount of money stolen, here’s how you could get it back.
Getting Your Money Back
The main factor is which scam tactic the scammer used to steal money from you. Most online dating scams start with small requests such as $100 every week or every other week.
This makes it a little less of a red flag for the victim. The important part is how you actually sent the money, though.
Before we plunge into the how and why, never send money to anyone unless you know them; always note everything when sending money to maintain the facts.
First Thing First – Call Your Bank
If you sent the money by loading it onto a green dot card that you were guided to buy, then it’s still possible to get the money back. The best way is by calling the bank that issued the gift card and reporting the scam.
They may be able to reverse the charge. If you sent money by using your personal credit or debit card, or any other personal banking account, you could also request that the transaction be reversed.
Some banks will automatically refund the amount taken and start an investigation on their end. If the money was taken and you did not send it, you are entitled to have your money returned by law in many cases.
The best way to approach this is to call your bank, explain the situation, be truthful and provide all of the facts. Furthermore, it’s essential to take action quickly if you believe you’ve been scammed.
Many online dating scams are long term, meaning money is slowly swindled over time. If you wait to report it, it may extend the time it takes for any desired action to take place on your end.
The Length & Amount Stolen
Secondly, the amount stolen also plays a large factor in getting your money returned. If the scam was a one-time occurrence, then a reverse of the transaction is the most likely course of action, and that’s it.
However, if the scam was stretched out over time, such as three months with several transactions, it may take time to get the funds returned to you.
If an amount such as $5,000 were stolen over months, there would likely be an investigation and at least a short waiting period before any money is returned.
This is because each transaction needs to be confirmed as a scam, and because it’s such a large amount of money, more people get involved in the bank’s cybersecurity team, which takes time.
Luckily, the money will get returned to you after the investigation has deemed the transaction(s) fraudulent. The primary point here is that the more money stolen, the longer it takes, but you will be refunded.
Obtaining The Proof
To make the process easier to get your money back faster, attain as much information as possible to send to your bank. For example, if you were scammed through a dating website, ask them to send a log of every conversation.
If anything were discussed outside of the dating website, log the information there as well. Once you’ve gotten as much information as possible, attach everything to a document to send over to your bank.
Other useful information is the website URL, any usernames involved, and any additional information that could prove helpful.
Not only will this quicken the process of having the money returned to you, but the scammer may be able to be tracked down and arrested, which could prevent others from becoming a victim.
Lastly, make sure to contact the website(s) where each conversation happened. They, too, can launch an investigation and not only ban the scammer but also potentially launch legal action.
How To Protect Yourself
Never Send Money
To keep yourself protected in the future, never send money to anyone online unless you know them. It can certainly be intimidating to say no when your new crush asks for money, especially if it’s a small amount; it’s hard to say no.
If you’re asked to send money, block the person and report them to the website and over at the FTC. Here is a helpful resource to make the reporting process easy.
Furthermore, never volunteer to send money. In some cases, scammers do not ask but instead insinuate. They may state that their mother is sick and needs money for medicine, hoping that
It can be easy to look over apparent elements of an online dating profile that appear like a scam. A profile photo that seems like a stock photo is a dead giveaway.
You can also do a google reverse image search to determine legitimacy.
Moreover, many online dating profiles used by scammers are not filled out. If they are, it likely has the college section filled in with Harvard and the career section filled in with Doctor.
It’s not uncommon for scammers to overcompensate. Many of them naturally think Americans are all doctors, lawyers, and scientists. If they say they’re in a field of such, be very vigilant.
Take Advantage of Resources
There are numerous very helpful resources that can help you stay protected from dating scammers. For starters, utilize google image reverse search. You can upload the scammer’s photo and see what comes up.
If more than one name pops up or you see the image attached to a stock photo website, it’s very obviously a scam.
You can also take advantage of background checks such as BeenVerified, where you can perform a detailed background check of the individual in question. You can also take a look through our detailed articles covering virtually every online dating scam you could imagine by clicking here.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much is Stolen Each Year?
Online dating scammers steal more money over the internet every year than any other online scam combined. In the previous decade, nearly a billion dollars was taken out of unsuspecting victims’ bank accounts. 2020 tallied a total of over $200 million, which is actually a good year. The average amount taken from victims is $2600, so the loss is pretty extreme, to say the least. In some cases, victims are swindled out of over $1 million!
Do Scammers Go To Jail?
This widely depends on the location of the scammer and how much was stolen. Some banks do not investigate far enough to press charges over a few dollars. Furthermore, the location matters as well. If they reside in a third world country, legal action is implausible. However, if they live in a country such as the United States, Canada, or Australia, criminal charges are feasible if they can be tracked down; it also depends if the bank is motivated enough to go that far.
Can I Get Scammed Again?
If you’ve been scammed already, it may seem like “finally, this is over!” with the assumption it won’t happen again. We’ll be the first to say that this is not a good way to handle it. Online dating scams come in all types of different approaches. Some steal your identity, others steal your money, and others offer marriage and actually follow through with it. For those who have already been scammed, make sure to implement the tips you’ve discovered here.
It’s certainly no surprise that online dating scammers exist. Love is one of the most reliable ways to make someone vulnerable, and the scammers know this. If you’ve been scammed online by a ruthless online dating scammer, getting your money back is entirely possible.
However, it may take some time. To make this process easier, attain as much information about the individual as possible to hand over to the bank.
Furthermore, never give over any personal information. You’d think they’d need your banking info or social security number to steal your money; this is false. Your address and name alone are enough for them to get started; you’d be surprised.
It is important that you perform a quick background search on who you are actually speaking to on the internet (you can do that here). The common questions that spring to mind are:
- Are they using fake identities?
- Am I really speaking to a real person from the USA?
To help the users of this site we have partnered with BeenVerified so you can search exactly that. This searching service may help reveal almost everything about this romance scammer and if they are a real person!
Helpful Information Available on BeenVerified:
- Criminal Records (Please search this!)
- Photos (Helps search if same photos are used for multiple profiles with different names)
- Email Addresses
- Phone Numbers
- Social Profiles (IMPORTANT – Do they have a real social profile or multiple)
- Home Addresses
- Relatives & Associates
- Sex Offenders Register (Be safe who you are meeting!)
- And More…
If you have the slightest doubt about who you are speaking to… Please use this service!