Online Dating Risks

Online dating has become a useful tool for many that may be searching for any form of companionship. Regardless of the users’ demographics and familiarity with the apps, many are at risk of being contacted by ill-intentioned individual(s). Many of these scammers are utilizing social media-based dating apps such as “Cupid”, “Tinder”, “Scruff”, “Grindr”, and “Meet me” by creating fake profiles (catfished profiles) claiming to be searching for friendships or dating, with the perception of building an intimate relationship with the victim. The criminal actors usually have a profile picture of an unknown young adult female or male. Those scheming to commit fraud, blackmail, and extortion often guide the conversation with the victim to obtain their phone number, other known social media accounts, and personal information.

For your safety, below are recommendations you may consider when engaging in online dating:

  • Cross-check and verify – conduct an online search to cross-check the person’s name, photo, location, email address and other details for legitimacy
  • Do not share any personal information (e.g. Social Security Number, bank information, etc.) if you have not yet verified the legitimacy of the individual(s)
  • Avoid sending any explicit photos or videos that could potentially be used to blackmail you
  • Never wire money, put money on a gift or cash reload car, or send cash to an online love interest
  • Contact your bank right away if you think you have sent money to a scammer

If you think you are a victim of fraud, please contact the Yale University Police Department at 203-432-4400. Use the LiveSafe app to effectively communicate with out police department.


  • Criminal Intelligence Report: Scam/Fraud/SExtorion/Blackmail (2021) Fort Bragg Law Enforcement Center. Joint Fusion Cell / Crime Analysis & Intelligence Unit
  • Schubert, C. (2021) “How to Detect (and Avoid) an Online Romance Scammer” Security National Bank of South Dakota. Retrieved from How to Detect (and Avoid) an Online Romance Scammer