A Pew Research Center survey conducted in July 2022 reported 3 in every 10 US adults have used a dating app or a site. The internet has become a place to find love, friendship, and even casual hookups. But it’s also a place full of frauds, fake profiles, and swindlers. In order to identify them, you need to be equipped with a handful of questions to ask a romance scammer so you don’t fall prey to their lies, deception, and clever tricks. 

Romance scammers are smart. They would have almost always have a fake backstory for themselves. They meticulously plan every detail in their mind so you believe in them, and not just believe also get scammed.

So, whenever you are on the internet looking for love, ensure that you don’t trust anyone blindly. You need to think twice before sharing your personal information and other important things that can put your safety in jeopardy. If you are new to the dating world, read along and find out how you can protect your heart and money while exposing a romance scammer. 

What Are Romance Scams?

Romance scams are a type of online fraud where scammers exploit individuals seeking romantic relationships on dating websites, social media platforms, or other online forums. These scams involve the perpetrator building a false sense of trust and emotional connection with their targets in order to manipulate them into sending money or providing personal and financial information. In simple words, scammers trick people into giving them money. 

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, romance scams resulted in reported losses of over $547 million just in the year 2021, making it the most costly type of consumer fraud during that year. The actual financial losses are likely much higher, as many victims may feel too embarrassed or ashamed to report their experiences. 

Here’s how romance scams typically unfold:

1. Scammers give out fake identity 

This is one of the most common romance scammer tactics that you need to be aware of. They always create fake profiles using stolen photos, often of an attractive person. They may also invent fictional names, occupations, and life stories to make themselves appear more believable and appealing.

2. They will try to establish a connection 

Once you accept their friend request or match with them on online dating apps, they will try to initiate contact with you by sending a message expressing interest or responding to the victim’s online dating profile.

They engage in extensive conversations and attempt to develop a rapport, using flattery, sympathy, and compliments to build trust. They will go to the extent of creating a fake dramatic story of their life to make themselves appear real. 

3. They groom and use emotional manipulation 

Scammers invest time in grooming their victims, making them feel special and desired. They may express love, affection, and commitment, creating a strong emotional bond. They will get your future hopes high. They will ask follow up questions on something you were worried about a few days back and they will also try to find out more about your love life. This inquisition and manipulation is designed to exploit the victim’s vulnerability and desire for companionship.

4. They will request money, not always for themselves

Once the scammer feels they have gained the victim’s trust, they introduce a financial need or an emergency situation. They may ask you for your bank account details. If you refuse to give them, they might claim to require funds for medical expenses, travel costs to meet you, for someone else who needs money, or any other kind of investments. Scammers often continue to request money, fabricating new reasons and excuses.

The scammer will persuade you to send money through various methods, such as wire transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency. They may play on the victim’s emotions and loyalty, using guilt or fear to pressure them into providing financial assistance.

5. They will damage you financially and emotionally 

Eventually, you will end up realizing that you have been deceived. By this point, you may have already suffered significant financial losses and emotional distress. Believe it or not, such horror stories exist. 

Romance scammers often spend time developing trust and forming emotional bonds with their targets before attempting to exploit them financially. This is exactly why you need to know all the questions to ask a suspected romance scammer so you don’t fall for their antics. 

15 Questions To Ask A Romance Scammer 

If you suspect someone might be a romance scammer or is hiding behind fake identities, it’s important to exercise caution and protect yourself by arming yourself with questions to ask to make sure you’re not getting scammed. 

1. Where are you from?

Ask a romance scammer where they are from as they often create fake identities lie about their location. According to research, they are also skilled at creating a convincing back story. By asking about their location, you may be able to detect inconsistencies in their responses.

For example, if they claim to be from one country but display a lack of knowledge or understanding about that location, it could raise suspicions about their true intentions.

In addition to that, understanding the scammer’s location can give you a better sense of the risks involved. Different countries have varying degrees of law enforcement and regulations when it comes to addressing online fraud. If the scammer is based in a jurisdiction known for leniency or lack of enforcement in this area, it could indicate a higher risk of encountering more sophisticated or persistent scams.

2. What do you do?

Are you a student, a middle-aged person, or just a scammer who wants to steal money from others? Avoid falling victim to their tactics by making sure you know who you are talking to. Of course, they will lie. But that’s not the point here. By asking about their occupation, you may be able to detect implausible responses that can raise red flags in the future. 

For example, if they claim to have a degree from a prestigious college or a lucrative job, then notice their overall behavior, texting style, and communication style. Ask if they know XYZ (a random name) from the same institution or workplace.

If none of those things align with their profession, it’s one of the signs you are dealing with a romance scammer. 

Furthermore, sammers often choose specific professions or job titles to manipulate their victims. For example, they might claim to be in the military, an oil rig worker, a doctor, or a humanitarian worker to evoke sympathy and create a sense of trust. It will be a bit strange for you to doubt such an altruistic worker.

That’s their whole game here. By asking about their occupation, you can gain insights into their potential motives for engaging in a romance scam.

3. What is your middle name?

Yes, they can and will lie about this. The reason why it’s important to ask their middle name is to catch them by surprise a while later. Once they tell you their middle name, keep that in mind and try to ask some follow up questions later.

For example, ask them why their parents chose this name or if there are any funny incidents related to that name. If they get weird about this or try to dodge personal questions, then there you go! You had made a scammer fall for your clever antics. 

4. What was your childhood like?

Don’t forget to ask a romance scammer about their childhood. Their answers to how they were as kids will be help you to understand their motives a little better.

Are they here to just share stories and form a beautiful bond or are they here to steal money from you and cause you trauma? 

However, you need to be very careful here. If they tell you a lot of sob stories about their childhood and that they were abused or didn’t receive any love and affection from their parents while growing up, that’s also a tactic to emotionally manipulate you.

This will lead you to become more emotionally invested in that person. And that’s never a good thing.

On the flip side, they could actually be a real person who is out there looking for love. However, it’s it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Ask them about their childhood but don’t empathize with them unless you are sure.

5. So, exactly how old are you?

Ask a romance scammer how old they are and they will tell you a number close to your age. This is to make sure the two of you strike the right chord. The scammer must have already done their research on you by going through all your social media platforms. They will try to appear as a real person by almost sharing similar details as yours.

They will claim to be whatever age they want in order to fit an intended narrative that will flatter the victim. When you talk to them about their childhood, profession, and other things, this will help you find out any loopholes in their story. It’s a potential online romance scammer when you catch them in a lie. 

6. Where do you live? 

Ask a romance scammer where they live and you will be able to find out if they are a real person or just someone sitting behind a screen and trying to take advantage of you. It has been found that most scammers will lie about their area of residence.

It’s their favorite lie to claim to be on a faraway military base. In short, there’s no end to the lies romance scammers will tell to get your money.

7. Do you have any pets? 

One of the biggest romance scammer tactics is to see if you have any pets and whether you are a cat or a dog person.

Depending on that, they will weave a story of their pet. If you have a pet, ask them some follow up questions on their food, veterinary visits, routines etc. You can easily figure out if they are not aware or simply say “My brother usually takes the pet for walks, I am too busy”. Dating red flag, yes.

Also notice how they share stories of their pet. Is there any hesitation in their voice? Are you getting a gut feeling that they are cooking it all up? If yes, then you should never ignore your instincts. 

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8. Can you share a picture of yourself with them?

This is a sly way of finding out if you are dealing with a fraud because romance scammers tend to steal pictures of others from the internet and use them as their own. They use stolen photos from other individuals, stock images, or fake profiles. If they provide you with a picture, it may not represent their true identity.

That’s why it’s essential to ask for a picture of them with their pet. If they stole some random picture from the net, then it would be impossible for them to find a picture of the same person with a cat or a dog. This is a smart way of dealing with dating scammers. 

9. Can we switch our chat to Facebook or Instagram?

Dating site profiles may reveal a lot about a person but they don’t tell you anything about their personal life, friends, and family members. It’s easy to create a fake identity on dating sites. However, a person’s social media account says a lot about their life. If someone is on a dating site or app, there is a very good chance they are also on other SM platforms.

If the scammer says they aren’t on Facebook or Instagram, it’s a warning sign for you to be alert. 

10. What’s a typical day like in your life?

Let’s say the person you are talking to claims to be a cop, doctor, or a nurse. These aren’t easy professions. They require people to be on their feet all day long. Ask them what a typical day looks like in their life. 

Ask follow up questions as well like: How do you manage stress? What’s the most difficult case you’ve ever had to deal with? Is there a part of your job that you don’t like? 

They may tell you they can’t reveal much details about their work life because of the sensitive nature of their profession. If that’s the case, then try to carefully listen to whatever details they share. If you personally know someone who is in the same profession as theirs, try to double check the authenticity of whatever they say. 

11. What’s your current relationship status?

It’s important to ask a romance scammer their relationship status even after knowing that they can easily lie about it. They could claim to be divorced or widowed even when they are married or they could be single and still narrate a sob story of being widowed.

You can never trust them. If they tell you they are divorced, then try to ask how the legal proceedings went. Their answers will clearly let you know if they are lying or not. 

12. Can you share your favorite family tradition with me?

You need to get them to open up about their family and childhood. It’s impossible to create a spotless backstory. So, identify any errors and gaps when they share things about their siblings, childhood friends, and family traditions.

You can also ask them to send a picture of the place they grew up in or a picture of them as a kid. 

13. Can we have a video call?

Video call buttons are a sure shot way of finding out whether you are talking to a real person or a scammer. Ask them if they want to go on a video call date with you. Someone genuinely interested in you will jump at the opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation, albeit virtually.

If they make lousy excuses and reject the video chat idea, it’s clear that they are using a fake picture to catfish people. A huge red flag the person on the other side is not genuine.

14. What would be your social security number?

If your online match has created a story where their need of money has surfaced, just ask them for their social security number. This 9-digit number is unique for anyone in the United States, and it is very, very unlikely for someone to fake it as it is controlled by the Federal Government. Just tell them you believe them and your bank needs the SSN to complete the transaction.

They will not be able to fake it and most likely never call you again. Problem solved!

15. When can we meet in person?

Just because we are suggesting you to ask this question doesn’t mean you actually have to go and meet them. Don’t ever make this mistake of meeting someone you have no idea about. You could get yourself in grave danger in case you agree to meet someone without being sure of them.

They could be thieves wanting to know the details of your bank accounts. You don’t know how long it takes a scammer to ask for money. They may pose this as a request, blackmail, or even threats when you go meet them in person. If they ask you to send money in any which way, it’s obvious that they are a scammer. 

So, avoid falling victim to such tricks and going to meet face to face with them. You just have to ask this question and notice their response. If they are taken aback, show hesitation, or outright deny going on a date with you in real life, it’s obvious they are not real. 

Read This: 11 Signs Of A One-Sided Relationship And What To Do

Things To Keep In Mind Before You Ask Questions To A Potential Romance Scammer

When interacting with someone online, including potential romance scammers, it’s crucial to exercise caution and prioritize your safety. However, if you decide to engage with them to gather information or assess their intentions, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

  • Strike a connection by beginning with general, non-intrusive questions to establish a rapport. This can involve asking about shared interests, hobbies, or experiences. Get to know their personality dynamics. However, avoid providing personal or sensitive information about yourself
  • Pay attention to the scammer’s communication style and consistency. Look for any red flags, such as poor grammar, unusual language patterns, or abrupt changes in tone. Legitimate individuals typically exhibit more natural and consistent communication
  • Assess their intentions by asking open-ended questions to gauge the scammer’s intentions. Inquire about their long-term goals, aspirations, or what they are looking for in a relationship. Be alert to any suspicious or evasive responses that may indicate ulterior motives
  • Verify the information they provide whenever possible. For example, ask about their profession or interests and conduct independent research to verify their credibility. Do a thorough background check and be cautious if their claims are difficult to substantiate or if there are inconsistencies in their story.
  • Trust your gut feeling. If something feels off or too good to be true, it’s vital to be skeptical. If the person exhibits multiple warning signs or pressures you for personal or financial information, it’s best to end the conversation and report your concerns.

Ask a romance scammer whatever you can before you start trusting them. Ask about their astrology sign, their date of birth, whether they dislike astrology, their social media sites, their most memorable vacation, whether they are a corporate employee or an entrepreneur. 

Every information is crucial in determining whether they are real or not. Remember, engaging with scammers can be risky, and it’s generally recommended to report any suspicions to the relevant authorities or the platform where you encountered them. Prioritize your safety, protect your personal information, and be vigilant when interacting with individuals online. 

We hope you stay safe!