Online dating scams, including Tinder and Bumble scams, have been on the rise over the past few years. And by on the rise, I mean it...
No, there's no missing decimal point there. That's how much romance scams have increased in five years or less since 2017 to top all other fraud categories.
Reports by the Federal Trading Commission name Romance scams as the worst type of scam with a gross loss of $1.3 billion between 2017 and 2022. According to a recent report by (FTC), romance scammers have made fortunes between 2017 and 2022 with the numbers jumping from $87 to $547 million within the same period.
Similar reports believe that the average individual loss ranges between $2.5k for individuals between 40 and 69 years and $9.5k for senior victims over 70. That's especially sad since lots of these senior citizens are just getting by on a pension but are so lonely that they fall for their scammer.
Millenials weren't also that immune. Even though they don't normally lose much - only $750/victim - the number of people between 18 and 29 falling for romance frauds has increased by 1,000% during the same period.
This type of scam is all over the internet. From social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to big adult sites. Yet the majority of these scams often start on dating apps and sites, especially the two most downloaded dating apps in the West: Tinder and Bumble.
The Most Common Bumble Scams
We already covered the most common Tinder scams in a previous guide. So check it out if you want to know about those. But if you've already read our article on these scams, you may find that some Bumble scams are similar.
Bumble has proved itself as a leading dating app and one of the best relationship sites on the internet. According to a recent Statista report, Bumble has outranked Tinder as the most downloaded dating app in the U.S. It also leads the race in several countries including Western Europe and South America.
And part of being a leading dating app is attracting a ton of scammers and fake attention seekers, especially during the pandemic. During this time, the hunt for intimacy has increased thanks to the long lockdown, which was a great excuse for many scammers for not showing up on actual dates with their victims. In this section, I'm going to share some of the most common Bumble scams out there and how you can spot them quickly.
The FBI defines sextortion as blackmailing a person with explicit content in exchange for money. This is probably the most devastating type of all Bumble scams since there's no measure of how long it'll take to stop. Blackmailing is simple but very tricky. Someone will be all lovey-dovey with you, so much in fact that they may ask you to perform some sort of nudity for them either solo or together.
Then they'll film you and blackmail you for it.
They'll ask for money, more nudes, or even other favors like making you drop off something illegal for them. There's an incident where one scammer asked his young victim to film her best friend in the gym shower and then used those photos to blackmail the friend.
Horrible, isn't it?
But people can be that horrible sometimes. Most scammers will come up with ways to justify not sharing their real photos with you like claiming that they just broke their camera. But on the other hand, some scammers won't even care if you have naked photos of them as well. They may even send you their Instagram with their legit photos and then exchange nudes with you the moment you feel safe around them. Just like this Vancouver dude.
He met a woman online, got her Instagram, and started talking dirty on Snapchat. He then sent her his naked photos only to receive a message from her with a screenshot of all his Instagram friends and a threat to either pay her or she'll show his friends his naked photos.
Luckily she didn't follow through with her threats, but you must keep stories like this in your mind as you swipe through Bumble and other dating apps. It's your job to stay safe and not reveal any sensitive photos or information to anybody just because they said they like you. Otherwise, everybody, including family and work, will see those naked photos they had for you.
"Never send money to someone claiming to be a Soldier."
That's what the U.S. Army has written on its official website after receiving tons of reports each month from people claiming to be victims of military romance scams.
This Bumble scam is simple.
You'll meet someone on the app claiming to be a U.S. soldier posted abroad. It may look exciting at first, since it appeals to so many singles, especially older ones. But soon the scammer will ask for money that he or she needs to spend on either medical expenses or family emergencies because, well, they'd been deployed far far away and can't send or receive money through all the usual means.
Why does it work?
- It's a very appealing fantasy, especially to older people
- Being deployed is an excellent excuse for not meeting up in person
- Many scammers will use fake documents to prove their need for money. Some will even have a team of acquaintances posting as doctors, lawyers, or other soldiers to further support their claim
The Crypto Scam
This is how most crypto scams work these days: It's a legit-looking trading app with a professional design and a hottie telling you how much they made buying and selling crypto.
Recent Federal reports acknowledged close to 50,000 cases of crypto scams costing the victims more than $1 billion between 2021 and 2022.
Several cases have been recently filed where the victims reported losing their money on some spammy crypto app. It often starts by meeting a hottie on Bumble or Tinder who clicks with them instantly. They may spend some time together either virtually or in real life where the scammer talks about how much money they made side-hustling on crypto trading apps.
In most cases, the scammer won't ask for money directly. Instead, they'll recommend a specific trading app that has a legit play store signature and charges way below the market averages.
They'll tell you they'll guide you if needed, and may actually help you win a few thousand buying and selling stocks and cryptos. However, when the time comes for you to cash out, they will freeze your "wins" and an operator - a fake one - will ask you to pay in order to unfreeze your account.
The Bumble Sim Swap
Q: What do you normally do right after a match agrees to go out with you?
A: Hand them your phone number.
There's nothing wrong with giving your phone number to people. Actually, hundreds have your number already, including your landlord and the pizza guy. Yet, having your number in the wrong hands can be scary. Hell can break loose on you.
It's called: The Bumble Sim Swap...
It's very simple, rare, and requires some skill. But it happens and can cost you a lot.
How does it work?
A girl will act interested in you until they get your number. She might even go out with you. She'll try to collect as much as possible about you, and maybe buy some information about you from the deep web. The scammer will then use what she has to call your phone service provider and ask to swap your sim card for another one they're using.
And if they do, they'll have power over everything you own online, including your bank and social media accounts.
Scary, isn't it?
Good thing it's avoidable by simply keeping your conversations all on Facebook Messenger, at least until you meet for a couple of dates. Yes, it can be weird. But, people do weird things all the time, you're not an exception.
As a rule of thumb, never click on any link from a stranger, be it on Bumble or anywhere on the web. Matches often exchange their Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat accounts so they can talk outside Bumble. This is fine as long as you only get their account name or Instagram handle.
Because some scammers may send a fake link containing malware that will either send you to suspicious third-party sites or hack your device.
When checking someone's Instagram account, always click on their attached Instagram account that is verified by Bumble or ask for their handle instead of a direct link. It's always safer to type their name in the Instagram search bar than to be sent a suspicious link.
The Bumble Email Scam
This one has been popular among Tinder users and is now being used on Bumble as well.
How does it work?
Bumble will send you an email asking you to verify your account or perform some sort of photo verification.
Sounds okay, right?
Except that the email is being sent from [email protected] and the link you're about to click on is fake and may possibly hack your device or send you somewhere scammy.
When Bumble sends you an email, don't just look at the logo and ignore the sender's email. Sometimes it's a fake one using the same yellow logo that Bumble uses.
Avoiding the Bumble Text Scams
All of the scams above are essentially text scams: the type of trickery where a few sweet words from a hot woman will be enough to make you fork over your hard-earned cash. She might add in a few photos, some videos, and a legit-looking social media handle. But the root of the scam is how skillfully they're able to text you and convince you to do what they say. So here's how you can avoid falling for these Bumble scams:
Fix any needy behavior
Scammers feed on neediness. They smell it the way dogs smell meat and they will feed on your impatience for romance to milk you for money.
Don't rush to tell someone your whole life story before you meet them in person. Don't confess your feelings or even develop ones without enough time. In general, don't trust someone who's claiming to be in love with you after just a couple of weeks of talking. No matter how sweet or thoughtful or nice or hot she seems, don't let yourself fall in love with someone unless you've met them and gotten to know them.
Give it time
Scammers are always in a hurry, most of them at least. They'll often come to you for immediate fixes that are always "urgent". A sick child, a business deal that seems too good to be true, or an emergent setback they couldn't anticipate. Scammers don't want you to sit, think, or ask for third-party advice. They want you rushed and isolated so your primitive brain follows suit and sends them what they want.
Whenever you're in doubt about sending money or trying a new crypto app, wait a while and ask a friend. This friend of yours who isn't in love with your Bumble match will likely catch all the red flags you've been missing.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is
If your gut says run, then run. It's probably right. If she's way out of your league and seems genuinely interested, then she's probably fake or some weirdo. Most people won't help you for free, especially those who've never met you. So don't expect someone miles away from you to want to do business with you early on, especially if they ask for a down payment.
Reverse search their image
There are several tools you can use to validate someone's images. By reverse-searching their images you can easily find out whether a scammer is using their real photos or just pretending to be someone else. And in case if you don't know what tools to use, these are our favorite reverse-searching tools:
Notice when someone asks so many questions
A Bumble scammer will milk you for information by asking you a lot of questions and letting you talk. You may think the conversation is going well or they're genuinely interested in you. But in reality, they're doing so to gain your trust and learn more about you so they can tweak their story to match your needs.
Watch out for when she suddenly mentions her sick puppy when she finds out you love dogs. Or she's suddenly short on her tuition money when she knows how much you care about education. These aren't coincidences; they're scams designs specifically for you.
Never trust someone who asks for crypto money
Anyone who asks you to send them money through crypto is surely full of crap.
Notice how fast they ask for your number - or ask to move you to a different app/site
Bumble has a security team that monitors any weird on-site behavior. It also uses several metrics to vouch for users including photo verification. So if she wants to ditch Bumble ASAP, be wary. She might say things like "I don't like using the app," "I prefer it over on WhatsApp," "let's be friends on Facebook", or "I don't check Bumble a lot. I might miss your messages."
Keep your eyes open for stories that don't add up
When detectives interrogate someone, they often rephrase the same questions over and over, looking for inconsistencies in the suspect's story. It's the same with Bumble scammers. You can easily test their honesty via questions. So if she mentions that she'll be on a flight at 8 p.m. and she responds to your text at 8:30 p.m., ask her what happened. If she claims her flight was delayed, double-check flight statuses on Google and see if it's true.
Watch them as they anticipate your concerns early on
A Bumble scammer will often act as if they can read your mind. They'll manipulate you and trick you into trusting them by anticipating all your concerns and even spitting them out for you so you have no way left but to trust them.
If someone tells you, "I understand why you may not want to wire the money," or "I know it's weird that I'm asking since we only just met", be on the lookout. Is there literally no one in her life who can lend her the money even if she looks like she's pretty well off in her photos?
They always live miles away
Distance is a good excuse for not meeting up face to face. It's much easier for scammers to claim they live far away from their victims than come up with a legit excuse not to meet up when they both live nearby. So even if you set your Bumble radius to 5 miles and swiped right on her, she'll have a million excuses like she was just visiting a friend or she was just passing by. If you then insist on going to her town, her excuses will range from being too busy to having a financial emergency that will only pop up when you're already in the city.
Keep in mind that dating in a small town is possible and that you don't need to travel for miles just to match with someone hot!
They don't have many photos
A catfish will do anything to avoid extra exposure including going on camera or using plenty of photos that may show their real looks/age/weight. But here's an entire section about that:
Spotting Bumble Catfish
Anyone who has ever used a dating app knows what it means to be catfished. It's when someone matches with you using fake - or sometimes outdated - photos either to waste time with you or trick you into doing something for them.
Spotting a catfish on Bumble is pretty easy. Here's how:
Reverse image search
I already mentioned this earlier, but it's worth repeating. Seriously, if she looks way too hot, do a reverse image. If she sends you the same photo of herself over and over, do a reverse image search. Heck, even if you don't think she's a Bumble scammer, do a reverse image search anyway. Who knows, you might end up letting her know that someone's using her photos somewhere.
You only need one bad photo to spot a catfish
Girls lie about their weight and age on Bumble and other dating apps. That's cool since men also lie about their height and income.
But since most women are under pressure to always look a certain way, some women will catfish you by using photos of themselves from 10 to 20 years (or pounds) ago. Some will even excessively edit their photos to look a certain way. They justify this by saying that it's really them so it's not "catfishing".
All it takes to spot this is a sharp eye. Look at the details in the photo and look for discrepancies. If you spot a phone from the 2000s, it's an old photo. If you notice that the beams on the wall near her waist are curved, that's photoshop. If all her photos have the same blurry filter, she will look NOTHING like her photos.
Watch how they respond when you ask to see them
It doesn't even have to be in person! Catfish know that what they really look like is extremely different from the photos they use. So they will never agree to Facetime, much less meet up in person. It's fine to be a little camera shy, especially with someone on a dating app. But if they literally NEVER do a video (or even voice) call, then you know that you're not talking to that hottie in the photos.
Is Bumble safe? Of course, it is. There are thousands of people who will vouch for Bumble. I, personally, met my wife on it a few years ago. But no one is "too smart" not to be scammed on Bumble. Thinking you can't be tricked just because you've been using the app shows too much bravado. So always be cautious about who you let into your life and be picky about who you date. It's the safest way to avoid being scammed on Bumble.