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I recently signed up on a dating site. I was promptly deluged with messages from women (or people claiming to be women) that, either on their first message, or after a very brief exchange, ask for my cell phone number. I mean, if we'd chatted back and forth for a dozen messages and one of us suggested meeting in person and then she asked for my cell number, I'd find it believable. But to just right off the bat say, "Let's get off this web site and talk on the phone" ... ? I'm very suspicious.

I've asked a couple of them to have a Zoom video call. Most just stop talking to me at that point. That pretty much confirmed my suspicions that it was some sort of scam. One said something vague about not liking to do Zoom calls and then practically demanded my phone number. I didn't reply and never heard from her again.

But if it's a scam, what could they gain by getting my cell phone number? I've heard of a scam where someone gets your phone number and then contacts a cell phone company saying they want to switch the service, plays some games with the verification and gets it switched, so now they have your number and can use it to beat two-factor authentication. But for that to be of any use you'd have to also know accounts the victim has, and these people didn't even have my last name. Or am I just not creative enough in imagining how a scam could work?

(BTW clues that these people are scamming me: 1. Their messages do not refer to anything I said in any previous message. Like they'll say, "Several things in your profile really interested me", but not mention what things. So they could use the same message with all their victims. 2. Inconsistencies. Like one woman said she was from California, but her profile said she was from Pennsylvania. Another woman claimed to be in the army in Afghanistan, but her messages were all set from a server in California and were all sent at times that would be evening in California but the middle of the night in Afghanistan. Etc.)

So okay, I signed up with a dating site, I don't want to be so suspicious that I miss opportunities to meet someone. But I also don't want to be a gullible victim.

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    Most likely just building a list of people engaged in online dating for potential future scams. Could be anything really.
    – glibdud
    Feb 8 at 23:14
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    Most likely, all messages sent through the web site are logged by the site's owners. If they can get you communicating off-site, then they can start the real scam.
    – Simon B
    Feb 8 at 23:33
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    Buy a burner phone and hope to get lucky ;->) Feb 8 at 23:34
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    You didn't mention which dating site/app, but a little Googling shows that Tinder is 80% men, OkCupid is 60% men, and Match is somewhere between 56% men overall and 86% men among active users on the Android platform. It's not likely that these are actually real women desperate to meet a man because there are so many other men on the platform.
    – shoover
    Feb 8 at 23:54
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    @shoover Some site I was on a few years ago, I forget now which site it was, but I got lots of messages from beautiful 20-something girls who were just dying to link up with an overweight, balding, 60 year old man. Maybe my suspicion caused me to miss out on a couple of great opportunities ... but more likely it saved my retirement fund.
    – Jay
    Feb 9 at 4:33

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