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What Are CryptoRom Scams and How Can You Stay Safe?

Since cryptocurrency became popular, scams have been rife throughout the industry, and now dating apps have become a prime target for such cybercriminals to get their hands on other people’s crypto.

But why are catfishers keen on crypto? And how are they scamming people out of their cash?

Why Are Criminals Targeting Dating Sites and Apps?

man in hoodie using laptop and phone

The fact that dating apps are simply an open door through which cybercriminals can access vulnerable individuals plays a big role in how popular crypto dating scams have become. People on dating apps are typically looking for love, and so are willing to let their guard down more than they usually would. So, if a cybercriminal can successfully manipulate someone’s emotions on a dating platform, it becomes much easier to scam them.

Of course, cryptocurrency is also anonymous, and isn’t legally protected in the same way that traditional tender is. These factors make decentralized digital currencies highly desirable for criminals. Scammers can also access a wide range of age demographics via dating apps, so targeting young, older, or otherwise vulnerable individuals is much easier.

Certain operating systems are more vulnerable to dating app scams too. For example, in Asia, people using iPhones are much more at risk of these scams because cybercriminals take advantage of Apple’s Super Signature distribution feature to gain access to and target Apple users. Through this method alone, scammers have already conned victims out of crypto worth over $1.4 million.


With these perceived opportunities and perks for cybercriminals, it’s no surprise that people have already lost tens or hundreds of thousands through these so-called “CryptoRom” (or cryptocurrency romantic) scams.

Popular apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and Grindr are rife with criminals looking to make a quick buck, and people within the US, Europe, and Asia have been affected so far, but they’re spreading across the globe. For example, there is also a popular crypto dating scam being carried out in Nigeria, in which victims are convinced to invest in a particular crypto website.

But how exactly are cyber-crooks carrying out these crypto crimes?

How Are Cybercriminals Scamming via Dating Sites and Apps?

computer screen with hearts and crypto icons

There are different ways through which a cybercriminal can scam someone on a dating service.

A particularly common method is convincing users to invest in crypto. While you may think no one would ever fall for that, there have been numerous instances in which naive individuals are persuaded to invest thousands in crypto before losing it all to a scam.

In February 2022, a young woman, Nicole Hutchinson, using Hinge was scammed out of almost $300,000 of inheritance money after being convinced to invest in Bitcoin. Hutchinson claims that a friend she made via Hinge, who went by the name of “Hao”, told her he was experienced in crypto investing and that he would teach her how to invest wisely. While she began investing small, Nicole eventually invested $290,000 following Hao’s advice and also convinced her father to invest.

It wasn’t long before she realized none of the investments were legitimate, and that Hao had swindled her and her father out of a huge amount of money through investment fraud.

But this is not even the biggest crypto dating scam that’s taken place recently. In January 2022, an American software engineer named Steve Belcher claimed he lost $1.6 million after falling for a “honey trap” scam on Hinge (otherwise known as a “pig butchering” scheme because victims are “fattened up” before being scammed).

After meeting and developing an online relationship with a user named “Shizuka Suzuki”, Steve, like Nicole Hutchinson, was convinced to invest in crypto via a particular platform.

Steve had already invested in crypto in the past but began taking money out of his retirement account in order to invest in the particular scheme Shizuka recommended. This user also claimed to be well-versed in crypto, and essentially ruined Steve’s life after scamming him for over $1.6 million.

These scammers often use bogus trading apps as vehicles through which these “CryptoRom” scams can take place. Of course, these cybercriminals make a conscious effort to conceal their identities, and often use fake names, profile photos, and create entirely fictitious personalities with which they can manipulate their victims.

These scams begin with the formation of lasting online relationships, which allows scammers to gain the trust of their victims. And while you may believe that you’d never fall for anything like this, thousands of people of all age groups have already been swindled. So, what can you do to stay safe? Fortunately, there are red flags you can watch out for.

Avoiding CryptoRom Scams

scam spelled out with letter blocks

It’s almost impossible to know right off the bat whether a dating app user is legitimate or not. With some convincing photos and a seemingly harmless profile, a scammer can blend in with every other user if they play their cards right. Because determining the legitimacy of a profile is so difficult, it’s crucial to be aware of what a user is asking of you.

The most important thing to remember when using any kind of online dating or friendship service is that you should never give away any personal information or make any kind of purchase or transaction if a user requests or recommends it. This may seem fairly obvious, but it’s more than easy to fall into such a trap if you don’t stay alert.

On top of this, some apps allow you to request that a user verifies their identity before you start talking with them to ensure that they’re who they say they are. If you use Bumble or Tinder regularly, this feature could come in handy. Alternatively, you can look for a verification tick on someone’s profile to find out if they’ve verified their profile themselves or not.

Lastly, if you’re ever suspicious of a user, and you think they’re trying to scam you, make use of your chosen app’s report option to notify the relevant parties of possible illegal activity. This may result in the removal of the suspicious user’s account, and could therefore prevent anyone else from being swindled.

Online Dating Can Be Dangerous; It Pays to Be Cautious

While dating sites and apps can help people meet their perfect partner, they do not come without their dangers. Dating platforms have been a major target for cybercriminals for many years, and the increasing popularity of CryptoRom scams is now putting users at even more risk.

So, if you use any kind of dating app, be cautious about who you’re talking to, and what they’re asking of you.

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