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Are Online Dating Websites a Consumer Scam?

Updated on March 31, 2015
This online profile on Tastebuds was fake. The scammer was a person in Ghana. The images used are Ann Angel.
This online profile on Tastebuds was fake. The scammer was a person in Ghana. The images used are Ann Angel.
On Facebook, this scammer used a photo of Nikki Sims.
On Facebook, this scammer used a photo of Nikki Sims.
Here it is again under a different name.
Here it is again under a different name.
Another Ann Angel photo used by a scammer. She has been a model to over 10 years, so there are many photos scammers can steal.
Another Ann Angel photo used by a scammer. She has been a model to over 10 years, so there are many photos scammers can steal.
Using the image search on google, look how many people are using this Ann Angel photo! This is only page 1 out of 5!
Using the image search on google, look how many people are using this Ann Angel photo! This is only page 1 out of 5!

There are many types of scams. But, one could think that any online dating\romance website where strangers meet in pursuit of true love, soul mates, could be a subtle fraud. One could say, that it is a false illusion of hope using the emotion of the those who join for $30 a month. These people part with a lot of money each month to access Match, Zoosk, Tastebuds, and hundreds more, based upon a false promise the websites make of finding your true love. Because these people who join are desperate emotionally for love, to be loved, to feel they are loved, the matchmaking websites, if effect, prey upon this need and lure them to join and to part with their money. This is no different than meeting someone online and over time you "fall in love" without physically meeting them because of distance. Then, there is a request of money from one party because of an urgent need. The money is sent and the love affair suddenly ends because the person receiving the money used a stolen identity or simply under false pretenses, used love to get money.

The problem with any of the romance online dating websites is that there is too much choice, whether your a man or woman. The stream of endless candidates daily means you never really decide because one thinks, "if I wait, maybe I will find one better or closer to where I live or better looking". Most members join with a lackadaisical, nonchalant, WTF, attitude, as if they themselves, don't really believe they will find the one true love of their life. Their attitude is more like, "I've tried everything else, might as well try this". When they think they have found the right candidate, both parties wonder if they other person is telling the truth, do they really look like the photo in person, is this a romance scam for money? These thoughts poison the chances from the start but are well founded. Then, even if there seems to be a connection electronically and anonymously, the next step, revealing their real identities, is problematic because of the fear element that it still may be a scam or stolen identity. If the online relationship even gets to the stage of meeting in person, many of the participants hesitate out of fear. This is not exactly a blind date! They know what each other looks like and know key elements of the other. The fear is maybe it is real and now getting to close to home to be comfortable. Maybe the chemistry that was thought to be there via email or texts was just an illusion of love, maybe in person, it is just different with no chemistry. Its the fear of failing after weeks or months of texting, talking on the phone, or email.

The other nefarious part with all these online romance website is stolen identity. There are many scammers out there using beautiful photos of men and women. In fact, many of the scammers are based in Ghana or Nigeria and target Americans and Europeans sending hundreds of emails out to targeted email addresses. They are also posting false identity user profiles to lure loveless people hoping to hook one. The photos are usually of male or female models from soft porn websites. These are not well known models but still striking and attractive in non-xxx mode. They may even post a US address. It is very possible that these models, themselves, do not know the scammers are using their images on dating websites. One popular female model used by scammers is Ann Angel and Nikki Sims. Scammers use these photos all the time. The scammer behind the profile is usually a man, although, women also scam using male photos. Many will begin a chat via the romance website but will suggest texting be done with a download app, like WhatApp. After a week of texting, they will request money for some urgent, logical, reason.

The easiest way to find a scammer on a romance website is to capture the image and save it. Then, open: Upload the photo, and google will search millions of photos to see how many others have used the same photo, if any.

People searching for love can be easy prey. The emotional need overrides common sense so many times. Movies show it. TV shows show it. It is such a powerful human need. Thinking a love will thrive and survive when the parties are hundreds or thousands of miles away is just false hope. A deception they refuse to believe, at least in the long run. Yet, the online romance dating sites prey upon these people with false hope, false pretenses, using the promise of a possibility of meeting your true love for your money. Yes, sometimes it does actually happen, but more often than not, it does not. The profiles may or may not be real and the websites do not check for fraud. Because the website offers a continuing selection of candidates, it is hard to be serious about just one, THE one.


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    • profile image


      3 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Hi! Perrya

      I see your articles often but writing after quite some time. Just like online dating site there are many Indian sites which help to find marriage partners, they are called online marriage sites too.

      Two advantages in these ones are that they are more serious about

      a long term serious relationship and even parents can register there and help their children find a partner.

      My own experience is that they work quite ok. Our both children found their life partners via such sites- but you have to be careful too -many try to cheat, create a lot more expectation about them then they actually are. Though it works both ways. You often know right in the beginning that such guy or girl might be a cheat and keep away from the person.

    • dashingscorpio profile image


      3 years ago

      Online or offline it's all a roll of the dice! :)

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Thanks, 5% ? I guess that supports this hub, it can happen, but don't count on it. That fact does create that callousness. It's just another shot in the dark to try.

    • dashingscorpio profile image


      3 years ago

      perrya, You make a valid point; "People get tired of looking over time, it becomes a chore, especially if nothing happens."

      I also suspect this happens to many people who are doing "offline dating" which probably prompted them to give online dating a try. :)

      Whenever something does not appear to be working it's human nature to want to abandon it and try something different. In fact the old adage:

      "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result."

      The bottom line is there is no "guaranteed way" for meeting the love of one's life. Some people meet online, others while in college, on their job, at a party/event, speed dating, while on vacation and so on.

      The best way to view online dating in my opinion is just another "tool" or option to proactively meet new people. Ultimately the "tool" is neither good or bad but rather how one decides to use it and which people (they) choose to engage with. You'd be surprised at how many people claim there are no worthwhile people online even though they themselves have a profile. Frustration has a way of making people exaggerate things.

      According to Pew Research Center only 5% of Americans who are in a marriage or committed relationship say they met their significant other online. While that may translate into millions it still means the vast majority of people meet their significant other "offline".

      As for the callous attitude and throw away mentality I believe it goes hand in hand with anyone who sees them self as being a "shopper".

      Nevertheless being shot down or rejected online is usually less painful and embarrassing than in person. :)

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Thanks for the advice and you raise many good points, but the scammers are out there that can skillfully deceive one online. Because love IS blind or maybe it is really lust, people throughout history have done stupid things and even murder over love. One can view online romance sites as both just a meeting place and as a potential revenue making scheme. I tend to think that most of them fail in the end for reasons cited. People get tired of looking over time, it becomes a chore, especially if nothing happens. There is a callous attitude with many on these sites, a throw away mentality because it is anonymous.

    • dashingscorpio profile image


      3 years ago

      Personally speaking I can vouch for the fact that online dating (can) work depending on the individual's goals and their "mate selection process". Regardless of whether you meet someone online or offline it always comes down to whether one says "yes" or "no" to the opportunity to engage with one another. If anyone is having one bad dating experience after another they probably need to re-examine their "date selection" criteria. The only thing all of your past relationships and dating mishaps have in common is (you).

      An online dating website is nothing more than a "tool" or option for meeting new people. Much like a fork is a tool for eating. However no obese person ever blames their (fork) for their weight gain! And yet people who have bad online dating experiences will blame the whole online dating industry!

      The first thing I would advise anyone to do when considering online dating is do some research on various websites. Too often people assume they're all the same. That's the equivalent of saying a night's stay at a Motel 6 is the same as staying at The Ritz Carlton simply because they both offer cable TV and beds to sleep in!

      Like any dating pool there will be some people looking to find their soul-mate, some just looking for casual dating, and others primarily looking for sexual hookups. This happens online as well as offline!

      Just because two people don't want the same thing doesn't mean one is right and the other is wrong. It just means they're wrong for each other.

      Truth be told when it comes to relationships most of us (fail our way) to success. If this were not the case we'd all be married to our high school sweethearts!

      Among the biggest mistakes people of make is "rushing" to give people their personal information or meeting right away. If you were a company looking to hire a qualified candidate for a position you would not have a face to face interview with everyone who sent you a resume. In fact odds are you would not bother to have a phone interview with candidates who did not meet your minimum requirements!

      Lots of people actually HATE dating! Dating is supposed to be FUN!

      Your subconscious mind will never allow you to succeed at anything you despise. A negative attitude or an aloof personality is not likely to attract quality people. I'd also recommend avoiding the "free" sites.

      It's the equivalent of moving into low income area and complaining about the high crime rate. offers detailed profiles on some of the online sites including demographics of each sites members such as percentage of male to female, pros and cons...etc

      Lack of "commonsense" used is another problem people have. Anyone who sending money to someone they've never met has bigger problems than online dating. At the very least you can communicate visually using Skype, Google Hangout, or Face Time prior to meeting if you desired to.

      Having "unrealistic expectations" or only relying on dating sites. Some people are masters of making lists of traits they want in their ideal mate. However they never bother to ask themselves the question:

      If I were him or her would I want me?

      Don't expect to sit next to the moon unless (you) are a star!

      Anyone not quite ready for online dating can join a few hobby groups on They every type of group one can imagine from wine tasting, meditation, yoga, hiking, dancing, writing, theater goers, single mixers, Most groups meet once or twice a month which allows people to gradually get to know one another. Since most of these groups aren't specifically for dating it takes the pressure off. Worst case scenario one makes some new friends who may know someone....etc


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