When you’ve been a victim of a romance scam (also called a dating scam), your heart’s been broken, your trust destroyed, and then the anger sets in.
Not everyone can keep their wits about them when they’ve been scammed; it’s so easy to feel down in the dumps (and you have every right to feel that way) and then stay there.
If you’ve gotten the short end of a dating scam, doing nothing is an option. But you can also try to track down the person who has scammed you so you can report them to the authorities and try to recoup some of your losses (even if it’s just your identity, money, and dignity).
Why Trust Doves-of-Love
Step 1: Secure Your Identity
Before you set out on your revenge path like a woman (or man) scorned and find the person who scammed you on an online dating app, secure your identity first (recommended read: 10 Tips to Identify Fake Text Messages on Dating Sites).
You need to:
Step 2: Report & Block the Romance Scammer
Next, you need to report and block the scam artist on the platform on which they contacted you. That can be the online dating site, a social media platform like Facebook or WhatsApp, or your email. If they’ve called you, block them on your phone too.
A reputable and legit online dating site will have an option when you can block the dating profile and also contact the customer service team to notify them that you’ve been scammed.
Step 3. Gather Information About the Scam and Scammer
You also want to get your ducks in a row and compile all the information you have about the scammer. The more information you have, the better your chances of finding the con artist and the more favorable the outcome of an official investigation.
Details you want to make a note of include:
Step 4. File an Official Report with the Appropriate Authorities
You must inform the authorities what happened (no matter how ashamed you feel that this happened to you).
If you live in the U.S., file a report with:
These agencies can help track down the scammer.
Step 5. Use Online Resources to Track the Scammer
There are various online resources that may help you track down the online dating scam artist. Some scammers are super smart and tracking them this way won’t yield any favorable results, but you’ve still gotta try.
Method 1: Use Search Engines
Not every search engine will give you the same results, so it’s worthwhile to use a few. Run a search on Google, Bing, and Yahoo! and try to find the scammer.
In the search bar, type in the name you have in quotation marks; e.g., “Robert Markson.” You can also search their phone number, email address, and any other info you have to try to find the real person.
Method 2: Reverse Image Search
Next, do reverse image searches on the photos you have of the scammer. A scammer may steal an image from somewhere else on the internet, so while you may not find the scammer, you can see whose identity they’ve stolen.
However, scammers also use the same details and M.O. for various operations, so you may find information about other scams they have or are running.
Do a reverse image search on Google, Social Catfish, or TinEye.
Method 3: Use a People Search Engine
People search engines like TruthFinder and BeenVerified gather personal information. Use these to find the person who has scammed you.
On BeenVerified, you can simply type the username and click “Search Now.” The powerful search engine will compile a list of all the possible owners of that username, and then you can “Search Person” to get more information.
Method 4: Use PeopleLooker & Spokeo
If you’ve chatted via phone, reverse search their phone number with PeopleLooker. Its extensive data engines will give you a report with usable information that can help you track the scammer down.
And if you have an email address, try Spokeo to find background info about the owner of the address.
Method 5: Use a Scammer List Site
There are many scammer list sites to try to find the online dating scam artist. In your search engine, type in “[online dating site name] scams” and “[online dating site name] list of scammers.”
Step 6. Hire a PI
Hiring a private investigator is another option to track down a romance scammer. They have resources and the expertise to track people down, and if they are successful, you’ll have more evidence to take legal steps.
Step 7: Next Steps
If you are successful in tracking down the scammer, you need to decide what’s next. You can’t dish out justice (however much you would like to); however, proceed with legal action if you can so the person can end up behind bars – where they belong.
Plus, this can be a really pricey option to find the scammer.
Step 8. Be Careful
Lastly, while this step may not help you track a scammer down, it is just as important.
Falling for one scam means that there is always the risk of falling for a second. You aren’t suddenly an expert on scams and being scammed. And while you can be extra careful, scammers are masterminds who lie, cheat, manipulate, gaslight, and more to get what they want.
So moving forward, accept that you’ve been scammed, forgive yourself (you couldn’t have known), and let go of what happened. But don’t forget. The scam is meant to be a lesson, so protect your heart, identity, and bank accounts when you engage with love matches.
Anyone can be a scammer, and that means that you shouldn’t ever share personal information with someone who is a stranger – for all intents and purposes – and that remains true even when they promised you the moon and stars.
Step 9: Learn More about the Latest Scams
Learning more about the latest scams can help you avoid falling victim to one of these. Of course, scammers are always upping their game and inventing new ways to entrap people. So you have to always be on the lookout for a scam.
There are a few M.O.’s that keep popping up in the online dating world, so get cozy and become acquainted with:
Concluding Reflections on Finding the Person Who Scammed You
It isn’t easy when you are the victim of an online dating or romance scam. But it’s essential to dust yourself off and try to find who was scamming you.
It’s a time-consuming process, and while you can do everything in your power to find the unscrupulous human being who conned you, be prepared that you may not find them. And that’s okay.
But you can try. First, secure your personal information. Then, block and report the scammer. Next, you need to use all the resources at your disposal to find the romance scam artist, report it to the authorities, and decide if you want to (and can) take legal action.
While it may feel like you’ll never trust anyone again, you will – with time. But rather be safe than sorry and be extra careful on online dating sites and other dating platforms.
Listen to your gut – always – and run if something is too good to be true. It pretty much always is (and don’t fool yourself thinking you are the exception).
If you suspect a love match is a scammer, ask them these 11 questions to try to suss out whether they are a romance con artist or just a fool in love.