Online Dating scams: The thorns in the flower

Megha Mukherjee
Megha Mukherjee
Content Creator and Corporate Communicator, CyberPeace
Nov 25, 2023


We are living in the digital age, where from ordering food to floating into a relationship everything is preferred to be digitized. It has been quite evident that in the past few years, online dating has become immensely popular due to its potential success stories. Since it has become a medium to find potential partners. Among the string of successes and pros of online dating, there seems to be a corner which is curtained that contains scams and treachery. A very recent case in Delhi puts light into the dark side of online dating where a 25-year-old journalist was trapped in an online dating scam. It portrays the threat of meeting an unknown person through an online dating app and how a person gets involved in the vicious cycle. Since the concept of online dating is all about meeting a new person and getting indulged. This incident talks about a man who met a woman through a dating app Bumble and got scammed for Rs 15000.

Unveiling the scam

It started like a fairy tale where a 25-year-old Delhi resident met with a girl on a dating app Bumble, where they spoke and found each other compatible. Followed by it the girl approaches the boy to meet at a specific restaurant situated in Delhi. The boy was away from the idea that the first meetup would turn into a nightmare which horrifying experience he would share on social media. It is not only about the financial loss but also about the emotional distress one goes through. Every coin has two sides and when surfing in the digital world one needs to keep in mind that along with the pros, there are certain cons. In the eagerness to meet someone, we should not lose our presence of mind. Continuing the incident once both reached the specified restaurant the girl made an order of various food items including beverages, shots of vodka, glasses of wine, different cuisines and hookah. Which not so surprisingly culminated in an inflated bill of Rs 15,886. After paying the hefty amount the boy went to the washroom once he came back the bill vanished followed by the girl being eager to leave the place. Till that very moment, the victim was in his dreamland where he did not get the hint that he had been scammed. Once he reached home and tried contacting the lady her account was deleted from the platform and was not reachable through calls. This incident shook the victim and pushed him to melancholy. Since he did not expect this to happen. Devastated by the fraud and treachery the man wrote about his disappointing experience on his Twitter handle addressing Delhi police to look into this.

It has been brought to the notice that similar incidents have been reported in the past as well. The trend remains the same in which the culprit insists the victim meet at a specific location decided by them, it is done with such conviction that it becomes difficult for the victim to deny. Once they accept to meet in the decided location it is followed by making the victim order expensive food and alcohol and at the time of payment giving excuses or pretending to pay. Once the payment is done the culprit rushes to leave the location or disappears without any head up. Not to be perplexed once they leave they will not leave any trace of them.

How to stay safe in the online dating world?

Online dating can bring butterflies in the stomach, and indeed it is a beautiful experience to meet someone new and fall in love but with this beauty, there comes the baggage of falling into the trap of cyber scams. While surfing online dating sites one needs to be very careful and vigilant since the highlighted incidents are relevant enough to showcase the negative impact on it.

Best practices

  • Use reliable platforms:  With the growing digitalization, there are infinite platforms available for online dating. But here is the catch one needs to be very finicky in choosing an appropriate platform among the countless options. It is best to use authentic platforms or apps and read reviews and ratings before installing any such applications or platforms.
  • Cross-verify the profiles:  Once you receive a profile compatible enough to talk about it is recommended to have elaborative conversations. It is not about doubting someone but being calculative and cross-checking all the information given. Before meeting the person it is best to have a detailed conversation but not reveal much about you.
  • Have control in your pocket: When it comes to paying the bill be proactive in dividing the bill. It is advisable to do so that the liability of paying a hefty bill does not come from one party. This will make sure that even if one of the people has the intention to exploit the other person they will become alarmed. 
  • Go with the flow: Since meeting an unknown person is all flowery and spontaneous, it is also good to follow your instinct and go with the flow if you find anything weird during the conversation or while in person. It is advisable to back off or to leave the place as soon as possible.
  • Be cautious in sharing your personal information with strangers: While conversing with an unknown person online, it is very important to keep a hold on our emotions and not share any personal information which can be misused by cyber crooks. Also, it is very important that we do not discuss anything about our financial capabilities and transactions.  It is imperative to note that cyber crooks exploit the many new ways to commit online fraud by targeting innocent individuals. 
  • Catching up in public places: When meeting for the first time it is advisable to meet a person in a public place such as a park, museums etc. It is the best way to avoid going to a place decided or being insisted. Since meeting in a public place gives a sense of security that people are around you.
  • Keep your near people in Loop: No matter how private you are while meeting an unknown person keep your friends and near one aware of it. 

What to do if you fall into such dating scams

  1. While one can be emotionally drained, it is very important to keep track of all the information shared, save all your messages, take pictures of the scammer's profile and document every small detail which can be relevant.
  2. Report on the platform:  There would be a section called “Contact us” or “Report” on the platform where you can report against the scammer.  Most dating apps have this section where you can mention your issue so that they can take action against such profiles.
  3. National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, 1930 Helpline: The Cybercrime reporting portal equipped with 24x7 helpline 1930 is a powerful resource available to the victims of cybercrimes to report their cases. 


Online dating can become the gush of winds for someone but it is very important to keep in mind that with the potential of falling in love, there comes a threat of being trapped and getting into cyber frauds or scams. So many cases are being reported, and the recent case also highlights that not everyone on online sites is genuine. So be aware of such scams and stay informed and safe in the evolving digital environment. 


Nov 25, 2023
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