The 5 Top POF Scams of 2020 (and How to Avoid Them)

Plenty of Fish has plenty of scammers, too

Plenty of Fish (POF) is an extremely popular dating site and app. Unfortunately, it's rife with POF scammers who use all sorts of tactics to trick innocent people into sending them money, handing over their personal information or making them believe they're talking to someone they're not.

If you currently use POF to meet potential matches, or you're thinking about signing up, you need to be aware of some of the most common ways scammers are tricking people for their own gains.

01
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Video Chat Scams

A person holding up a smartphone with a video chat on the screen.

 nadia_bormotova / Getty Images

You'd think that wanting to start a video chat would be a good sign the person you're talking to is actually real, right? That's exactly what the scammers on POF want you to think.

After a few messages, the scammer will ask if you want to video chat. Since POF doesn't even have a video chat feature, the scammer has to send you a link to a third-party website.

In many cases, the third-party site is fake and designed to look like POF to help trick innocent victims. As soon as you click it, you're asked to enter your credit card information.

If you go ahead and enter your credit card information into the site, the scammer can use it to make fraudulent charges.

Avoid the Video Chat Scam

  • Beware of people who say they want to video chat with you.
  • Never click links sent to you (in case of viruses or malware).
  • Never enter your personal/financial information into an unfamiliar third-party site—even if you're given a redeemable code to use.
02
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Email Scams

An email message scam open on a laptop.

 

Jane_Kelly / Getty Images

So you're chatting with a new match and they ask for your email address for some reason. Maybe they want to send you something or they're simply ready to take your relationship off POF. Seems innocent enough, doesn't it?

Don't be fooled. POF scammers have been known to completely hijack people's accounts, just by getting their email addresses. Besides hijacking your POF account, a scammer could also potentially hijack your email account, then use that to hack into any additional personal accounts that are connected to that email address.

Scammers can easily run a search on you to determine your answers to your security questions, too.

Another way scammers use email to scam people is by sending you messages that look like they're from real, legitimate businesses or organizations. For instance, a scam message might appear to be a message from your bank notifying you about new security precautions, asking you to click a link and enter your personal information to verify it.

Email scams like these put you at risk of compromised accounts, identity theft, viruses, malware and additional scams/spam sent to your inbox.

Avoid the Email Scam

  • Beware of anyone who's quick to to ask for your email address, for any reason at all.
  • If you decide it's safe to communicate by email, ideally only after you've been chatting for a good period of time and feel comfortable with them, consider creating and using an email alias instead of your real email.
  • Ask for their email address too so you know what it is, and immediately report any messages as spam from email addresses you don't recognize.
03
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Fake Profile Scams

A dating profile on a smartphone.

vasabii / Getty Images

Scammers want you to believe you're really speaking to the person depicted on their profile, but their photos are almost always stolen from some poor, unaware individual. Even if there are multiple photos of the same person to make it more believable, they could still all be stolen.

Many scammers want to capture your attention with attractive photos—whether they're targeting men or women. Some have even been known to use photos of famous athletes and celebrities.

Many fake profiles have thin details, while others include lengthier descriptions about what they're looking for. If they do include descriptions, they often use exaggerated language about love, acting like a hopeless romantic and even mentioning their faith in God.

These scammers might just string you along with messages until they get what they want. To keep their false identity intact, they'll often keep feeding you excuses as to why they can't meet up.

Adopting a false identity on a dating site is called catfishing.

Avoid the Fake Profile Scam

  • Beware of profiles that have very few photos, photos that look too good to be true or photos that are very low quality (cropped, take from a distance, grainy, etc.).
  • Beware of profiles that have only the most basic details filled out and include only very generic information.
  • Beware of users with seemingly unoriginal usernames—especially ones that include several numbers at the end.
  • Keep an eye out for mismatched details (i.e., photos of a guy who looks like he's in his 30s, but his age says he's 52).
  • Take it as a scam if their language seems strangely formal and over-the-top about love, yet includes a lot of spelling and grammatical mistakes.
04
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Sob Story Scams

Speech bubble with a crying face.

calvindexter / Getty Images 

You'd do almost anything for someone you really care about, even if it was a big expense or inconvenience to you. Scammers know this, which is why they toy with your emotions by sharing deeply personal stories and crafting elaborate sob stories once they feel you've grown close enough.

One of the most classic scammer sob stories is the military man who's currently serving overseas. They can make up almost excuse as to why they might need money from you.

Other sob stories include being widowed, having just lost a child, or experiencing a family medical emergency. These sorts of stories are designed to tug at your heartstrings so when the scammer asks for a favor, you're more than willing to to prove your selfless admiration for this person by giving them what they want.

Avoid the Sob Story Scam

  • Beware of users who are quick to share very personal details with you.
  • Beware of users who talk openly and exhaustively about being widowed, losing someone, or having to take care of an ill/injured family member.
  • Beware of users who are in another country.
  • Never agree to send payment or offer personal information to anyone you recently started chatting with on POF, no matter how desperate they might seem.
05
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Quick to Fall for You Scams

A heart message appearing on a smartphone.

Vladimir Obradovic / Getty Images

Many people jump on dating sites in hopes of finding the one as quickly as and as effortlessly as possible. Scammers prey on these types of people by showering them in compliments right off the bat, talking about the "connection" you have very early on and even professing their love for you without even meeting up.

Similar to the sob story scam, quick to fall for you scammers are trying to reel you in by manipulating your emotions. They want you to think that you have something real, so that when the time comes for them to ask you to do something (send a payment, enter personal information into a website, etc.), you'll do it eagerly without question.

Avoid the Quick to Fall for You Scam

  • Beware of users who start messaging you with lots of compliments.
  • Beware of users who talk excessively about love and romance.
  • Beware of users who send you love letters.
  • Beware of users who claim to have a deep connection with you very quickly.
  • Beware of users who continue with all of the above, yet make excuses about why they can't meet up with you.