Whatsapp Scams to Be Aware Of

Aditya Rayaprolu
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Updated · Apr 28, 2023

Aditya Rayaprolu

Joined February 2023

As a cloud architect at McKinsey with experience handling Fortune 500 clients, this individual has c... | See full bio


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Roses are red; Violets are blue; your cyber sweetheart might be scamming you! You know when they say communication is key to a relationship? It is also true for online dating scammers. 

Scammers like to be on social messaging platforms that you usually use, like Whatsapp. 

They leverage Whatsapp’s security method called end-to-end encryption technology, which makes it hard for regulators to detect and block scams.

In 2022, nearly 70,000 people were conned by romance scammers and reported losses amounted to a staggering 1.3 billion.

So how can you avoid becoming a statistic? If you are looking for love online, it’s best to know how to identify the types of scams and what you can do to avoid them.

In this article, discover the different types of WhatsApp Dating scams and how you can avoid them. 

What is Whatsapp?

Whatsapp is the world's third most used social platform, boasting popularity in over 100 countries. 

2.2 billion active users spend a lot of time on Whatsapp. Most people using the app open it 23-25 times daily. 

They use it to stay in touch with friends and family. But other than that, Whatsapp is also a hotspot for finding potential love interests. 

The platform's prominence makes it a ripe target for online dating scammers, a.k.a romance scammers.

With Whatsapp users delivering roughly 100 billion messages and over 100 million voice calls daily, even if only a few scams work, it's already a big payout for any romance scammer.

3 Types of Whatsapp Dating Scams Today

Whatsapp scams surged by more than 2000% at the end of 2021. 

Here are the three main dating scams you may encounter on the app:

1. Crypto Romance Scams and Phishing

Crypto romance scams start with well-rehearsed scammers reaching you on dating apps, Whatsapp, or social media.

Scammers build a persona of a successful businessperson. They will bait you by talking about how they have attained financial freedom through cryptocurrency investment and even send a made-up proof of its supposed 100% returns.

They will build an online relationship with you and pressure you until you are convinced to join in the same investment. They might also ask you to buy cryptocurrency and hand over your crypto assets. 

Whatsapp Phishing Attack

The romance scammer will say you must set up an account using a link they sent. It leads to a website that will ask for your personal information. 

Little do you know, it's a spoofed website for scammers to steal your information. These websites usually mimic a trusted company or something that looks legit. 

Stolen personal information can lead to identity theft. In 2021, statistics show that over 42 million Americans fell victim to identity theft. 

Whatsapp Malware Scam

Sometimes, the link that the scammers send you can download malware. There are many different forms of malware that can infect your device without you being aware if you mindlessly click on it. It’s how scammers spy on your activities or steal your data.

Whatsapp Group Chat Crypto Scam 

Another way of the Whatsapp crypto scam is when you're randomly added to a group chat where an investment scammer tries to show everyone how great their scam investment is. 

Scammers deploy many fake Whatsapp users in the group acting as if they're interested.

Made-up names and chats, scammers invest their time in Whatsapp crypto romance scams to get your money. 

In 2022, a retired man named Mike grew fond of a certain "Jenny" from Malaysia.

In July, Mike, looking for companionship on a dating app, got matched with Jenny. They exchanged messages about their lives, and after a month or so, the topic was cryptocurrency.

Jenny talked him into investing 3,000 USD in a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange website and instructed him to transfer the money to another platform. 

Mike's cryptocurrency portfolio hit 1 million USD in value, and he was assigned to a 'teacher analyst' named Devon. 

Four months later, they told him to send his tax payments to the Department of Homeland Security instead of the IRS. Mike became suspicious and found out he was scammed when he couldn't transfer money from his account anymore. He lost about 277,000 USD in total.

2. Military Romance Scam

Military romance scammers will use stolen photos of military service workers from internet websites and message you randomly, often using military jargon and titles.

Because there are around 200 million websites all over the world, scammers have also found a vast resource of victims. 

The scheme usually starts in third-party online dating apps or social media sites. 

On Facebook, with almost 71% of American users,  scammers would be in Facebook groups looking for potential targets like single men or women. 

Soon enough, they'll encourage you to move the conversation to Whatsapp. And they won't chat further if you refuse. 

It's because dating apps have customer care teams that monitor strange behavior, and Facebook has security measures that remove fake accounts. They can't scam you in that way.

U.S. military officials and official websites receive hundreds of reports from victims of military romance scams. Scammers might manipulate you with some of these claims:

  • They can't do video calls because of security reasons.
  • They are U.S. military members serving in other countries like Syria and Afghanistan.
  • They'll need to borrow money from you to pay for military-related expenses like travel arrangements to go home.
  • They'll portray that they're near the end of their careers and willing to settle down with you.

The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan released a public warning as they have received inquiries from victims of military romance scams from dating apps and social media platforms like Facebook, Viber, Kik, and Whatsapp. 

The report says military romance scammers have been claiming to be a member of the U.S. military or employees deployed in Afghanistan. After spending months building a relationship with you, they tell made-up stories to steal your money.

3. Blackmail and Sextortion Scam

If you're a Whatsapp user and at the same time shooting your shot on online dating apps, you may find people asking for your Whatsapp details to 'confirm' that you are legitimate. 

Whatsapp sextortion schemes start like this. In their request to confirm your identity, they'll want to see you virtually through a video call. 

The conversation turns romantic quickly until they pressure you to remove your clothes and request sexual favors. 

Scammers will record everything and threaten to leak your intimate photos to friends and family or publish it online if you don't send them more sexually explicit content, have sex with them, or send a certain amount of money. 

Unfortunately, giving in to the blackmail would only escalate the problem.

In 2022, a Reddit user was scammed on Whatsapp by someone they initially matched on Tinder. They continued communicating through Whatsapp until the victim was persuaded to send a sexually explicit video.

Afterward, the scammer threatened to publish the video if the victim didn't send 800 USD. Pressured, the victim sent the money. 

In the middle of their wait, before the money reaches the scammer, the victim posted on Reddit their worries that the scammer might ask for more money.

The victim knew they could use the police' help but didn't push through as the scammers weren't from the US, which might be useless.

How to Avoid Dating Scams on Whatsapp

If you want to dip into the Whatsapp dating pool, be wary of dating scams using these tips:

  • It is a red flag if they profess love quickly, especially if you haven’t met in person. 
  • Do a thorough online search to cross-check the person’s legitimacy.
  • Think twice before you decide to share something. 
  • Be suspicious if they make plans to visit but always cancel because of some emergency and in need of financial assistance.
  • If the money-making offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Keep your account secure and take advantage of Whatsapp’s security features.
  • Report problematic content and contacts to Whatsapp.
  • For threats, contact your local emergency services like the police or FBI.

Any cyber lover can be a scammer. Find out who they are using the tried and tested website Social Catfish

Social Catfish can track who is behind the romance scam and where it originates.

Unlike other standard reverse image search engines, Social Catfish has incredible deep reverse search technology to uncover a scammer’s identity. You only have to enter the information on the website, and Social Catfish will help verify their identities.

You can choose from two memberships: First, the reverse search for images, and second, the reverse social search, which enables you to search using a name, email address, phone number, and social media username/address.

Key Takeaways

  • Social media, dating apps, and messaging apps are hunting grounds for dating fraud.
  • With crypto romance scams, scammers will provide made-up evidence to convince you they are the real deal.
  • Romance scammers may camouflage themselves as military members seeking love online.
  • Romance scammers will ask for sexual favors, and once you give in, they will threaten to expose you if you don’t do what they want you to.

The Bottomline

Just like you wouldn't trust anyone you met in real life, you shouldn't trust someone you've met online. No matter how long you talk to them, it does not guarantee they are trustworthy. 

Remember, romance scammers are losers hiding behind fake personas. With Social Catfish and our tips above, we hope to spare you from heartbreak and breaking the bank.


Is Whatsapp safe for online dating?

Whatsapp is considered safe for communication but doesn't guarantee safety for online dating. Its end-to-end encryption makes it difficult for regulators and service providers to detect and block scams.

What are the signs of a dating scammer?

Dating scammers quickly bombard you with attention or affection without getting to know you. They are master manipulators telling lies like they can't meet you in person, are in need of money, and are very patient in teaching you how to send it. 

How do I report a WhatsApp scammer?

You can contact the cops or your local Federal Bureau of Investigation field office or report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Via Whatsapp, you can find a "Contact Us" option under the help tab or call its customer service line.


Aditya Rayaprolu

Aditya Rayaprolu

As a cloud architect at McKinsey with experience handling Fortune 500 clients, this individual has comprehensive expertise in cutting-edge technologies and tools such as cloud computing, virtualization, network security, data storage, and disaster recovery. They have a wealth of experience in creating and executing virtualization solutions for both on-premise and cloud-based systems, with a primary focus on enhancing efficiency, dependability, and security.

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