The 5 Top OKCupid Scams of 2019 (And How to Avoid Them)

Where there's the potential to find love online, there are also scammers

If you're looking for a new relationship, you might consider trying OKCupid—one of the most popular dating sites on the web today. As easy as it is to sign up and start chatting with people, it can unfortunately also be just as easy to fall victim to scams.

Before you get too chatty with anyone you meet on OKCupid, you need to know what to watch out for. Some of these scammers are smarter than you might think.

Here are just five of the most common types of scams you could come across on OKCupid.

01
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Sexually Explicit Video Extortion Scams

An explicit video blurred out in a web browser.

 

i000pixels / Getty Images 

It's no surprise that things can get pretty hot and steamy between two users on OKCupid, long before they even meet up in person. A scammer can play this game by acting like they're super attracted to you and want to see more.

In these types of extortion scams (also called "sextortion" scams), the scammer typically asks for your phone number so that you can "sext" explicit videos of yourself to the scammer. They might even ask for your Snapchat username since sexting is a popular activity on the platform.

Once the scammer has those videos, they'll threaten to expose those videos to your social media friends or contacts unless you pay them a certain amount of money.

Avoid the Sexually Explicit Video Extortion Scam

  • Beware of profiles that feature very attractive photos (too good to be true) and have incomplete profile details.
  • Beware of anyone who asks for your phone number or other type of contact very early on in the chat.
  • Never send anyone sexually explicit videos of yourself (on OKCupid or anywhere). unless you're prepared to face the consequences of the possibility of them being leaked.
02
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Underage User Extortion Scams

An 18+ sign.

 

Soifer / Getty Images

Another type of extortion scam used on OKCupid as well as other dating sites is slightly more elaborate than the one that involves obtaining sexually explicit videos of you. This type of scam involves a man posing as a young woman.

The target is men, of course. The scammer posing as the young woman will typically be open to sexting very early on in the chat, offering to send nude photos and potentially asking for them in return.

If you fall victim to this type of scam, you'll eventually get a text or a call from a seemingly enraged man claiming to be the young woman's father who discovered what you were doing. He'll claim that his daughter is a minor and then threaten to report you to the police.

The scammer expects you, the victim, to start panicking and explaining yourself. At the last moment, he'll fake some sympathy and come up with some kind of story related to his daughter where a payment is needed.

At last, he'll offer you a deal. If you make the payment, he'll let you off the hook.

Avoid the Underage User Extortion Scam

  • Beware of young women who seem eager to send you explicit photos or videos.
  • Avoid giving your phone number to anyone you meet on OKCupid very early on in the initial stages of the relationship.
  • Never send anyone explicit photos or videos of yourself.
  • If you receive a text or a call from someone claiming to be the young woman's father, don't answer/hang up and block the number.
03
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Bot Scams

A person chatting with a bot on a smartphone.

 

non-exclusive / Getty Images

It's an unfortunate reality that OKCupid is riddled with bots. Their profiles include stolen photos of attractive people to grab your attention when they pop into your inbox with a message. Many of these photos are even used across multiple profiles.

Really, all dating sites/apps can be loaded with bots. For example, Tinder is plagued by scam bots designed to trick users into giving away personal information. Always be cautious and don't give out personal information to anyone on a data website or app.

The bot will use an automated script along with canned replies to make it seem like you're having a conversation with a real person. Eventually, however, the bot will entice you with some kind of promise of sexually explicit content from them, such as webcam videos.

The scammer will then try to redirect you off of OKCupid to some kind of webcam site where you'll be asked to enter payment information. if you go ahead and click that link and enter your payment details, you put yourself at risk of seeing fraudulent charges to your account.

Depending on the scammer's goal and the type of site they redirect you to, you could also risk having your personal accounts hacked, face identity theft or end up with malware/viruses on your computer or mobile device.

Avoid the Bot Scam

  • If you're a male looking for a female partner, beware of attractive women who message you first. Many of these types of bots target men.
  • Similar to both the extortion scams explained above, beware of profiles that include photos featuring a very attractive individual with only the bare minimum details filled out.
  • Never click on links to third-party sites that someone from OKCupid sends to you.
04
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Overseas Scams

Two people chatting from international locations.

 

OstapenkoOlena / Getty Images

Online dating has opened up the possibility for developing relationships with people across the world. Although a long distance relationship typically isn't ideal, scammers know that there are lots of people out there who would be willing to do almost anything for someone they really liked—even if they were thousands of miles away.

Many scammers operate from third-world countries. For them, scamming can be a full-time job. They might even be working for someone else alongside other scammers doing the same type of job.

These types of scammers target Americans and claim to be American themselves, but they have a story about why they're overseas. Maybe they're traveling, they're in the military or they're visiting family.

After the scammer feels that you're committed enough to them, they'll use some kind of sob story to ask you for money—perhaps to help get them home or to cover costs for an emergency.

Avoid the Overseas Scam

  • Beware of anyone who claims to be working or traveling overseas (especially in the military).
  • Beware of anyone who claims to be from your country, but appears to have many spelling and grammatical mistakes in their chat messages.
  • Beware of anyone who chats in detail about their financial situation or an emergency that they need to take care of immediately.
  • Beware of anyone who insists on communicating by chat only—never by phone or Skype.
  • Never agree to send payment to anyone you met on OKCupid.
05
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Catfish Scams

A man impersonating someone on a laptop screen.

Anne-Marie Miller / Getty Images

Catfish is a term used to describe anyone online—typically on dating sites—who fakes their identity. All online dating scammers typically use fake profiles, so technically you could call every one of the a catfish, but OKCupid has been known to attract a very distinct type.

Since OKCupid is such a popular dating site, catfish scammers have been known to track down the profiles of people they know, just so they can form some kind of new connection or maintain some level of control over them. For example, a divorced woman might catfish her ex-husband out of jealousy, a gay man who's still in the closet might catfish a male coworker he's developed a crush on or a teenaged boy might catfish his own mother to sabotage her from getting into a new relationship.

While people have been known to catfish people they know for all sorts of personal reasons, others do it at random—to people they don't even know—just because they find it entertaining. Catfish relationships can go on for months or years without the victim ever knowing their catfish's real identity.

Avoid Catfish Scams

  • Like some of the scams mentioned above, beware of profiles with only a couple of photos that look too good to be true and don't include many profile details.
  • Perform a reverse Google Image search on their photos to check if they were stolen.
  • Beware of anyone who comes on very strong, very fast.
  • Beware of anyone who makes excuses for why they can't meet up, talk on the phone or talk on Skype.