Are Dating Sites Legitimate or Outright Scams?

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Are Dating Sites Legitimate

Yes and no. While some focus on your safety as a member, others are there to make money.

We’ve moved from whispering about online dating to worrying if the available dating sites are legit. Whether they are or not depends on user experience on dating sites.

Some people are lucky enough to find true love on dating sites. Others give testimonies of marriage, which is a good thing.

However, we can’t turn a blind eye to those who have been scammed. Unfortunately, they are more than those with beautiful stories. 

If you ask a victim healing from an ordeal, they will convince you that all dating sites are scams. And you can’t blame them because they had the best teacher and experience. 

In the same way, someone enjoying ten years of marriage with a partner they found on a dating site will give you all the good reasons why you should try online dating.

Allow me to answer your question with an open mind.

The Legitimacy of Dating Sites is Debatable  

As I said, everyone will answer this question depending on their experience. But let’s put that aside for now.

As much as these dating sites are there to make money, some actually invest in user safety. Some are regulated to ensure they adhere to user protection. Though I must say, not all of them. 

Assuming a dating site is regulated and prioritizes your safety on the site, does it mean members are safe? Well, it’s one step closer, but you are still prone to scams.

A scammer will join the site and follow the required procedure like any other member. They will pass every required step, so you can’t blame the site.

Dating App Danger

Why are we working on assumptions? The popular “Tinder Swindler” is proof that these things happen.

Even worse, the scammer does not even have to pretend to be in love with you. They can pose as a friend, as in the case of Pernilla Sjöholm in the Netflix documentary “Tinder Swindler”.

You see, in such a case, we can’t blame the dating site. This is not like in hacking, where you can say the site didn’t have tight security measures; hence they were hacked.

They probably had everything in order, and the scammer escaped safely. Worse still, the scam happens away from the site because you exchange contacts and start communicating directly when you meet. 

How Do I Know if a Dating Site is Legit? 

Honestly, you can’t know for sure. However, you can try to be on the safe side by:

Reading the privacy policy

Before you join any dating site, familiarize yourself with its privacy policy. Ensure you understand everything and ask their customer support to elaborate on anything you don’t understand.

If you are convinced that your safety is prioritized, you can proceed to check the other features before joining.

Conducting your research

Don’t join a dating site because it’s the newest or most popular on the market. Conduct your research by asking anyone who has tried it or reading their customer reviews.

Sadly, some reviews are fake, so be extra and find out what people are saying on social media pages. Be thorough, so you have a clue about what you are getting into.

Navigating through the site

Before subscribing to any paid membership, take your time to navigate through the site. Go as far as you can and take your time analyzing the features on the site.

Check whether it’s regulated

I know not all dating sites are regulated. But this doesn’t mean you can’t spot a few. I would advise checking if a site is regulated before joining. If it is, proceed to verify by which body.

Prioritize regulated sites as they are often legit. At least there is some assurance of safety on such sites.

Prioritizing popular dating sites

Bumble dating app in a phone screen
Bumble dating app on a phone screen.

The logic is that the more popular a site is, the more likely you will get evidence to prove its legitimacy. What I mean is, if so many people have used it, they will have something to say about it. 

At least you will have something to work with. 

Another reasoning is that if more people are using it, chances are it’s legit. Though I must admit, this is not always the case. So you still need to be on the lookout.

Checking out their security measures

Every dating site should have security measures that protect user data and minimize hacking. Before joining any dating site, this should be the first thing you check. Ensure you are convinced there are tight security measures before joining a dating site. 

How to Practice Safe Online Dating

Though online dating is not all roses, you can always try everything you can to ensure a safe experience. Pay attention to the above and watch out for any red flags. In addition, below are tips to help you practice safe online dating.

1. Pay attention to every profile that creates contact

Smiling young man shown in a dating app profile
Smiling young man shown in a dating app profile.

There are numerous fake profiles on dating sites today. Someone will pretend to be a different person to get your attention. If a profile seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Some telltale signs of a fake profile include: 

  • An empty profile where they don’t describe anything about themselves.
  • One photo.
  • Zero social networks
  • Very powerful words

If you suspect something fishy, ask if you can have a video call to clear the doubts. Chances are, they will give excuses to avoid the call in all ways.

2. Don’t give out your personal information

This should go without saying. Anyone who asks for your personal information is straight up a scammer. Don’t reveal your address or any sensitive information. It may be used against you.

3. Try to verify the legitimacy of a dating site before joining

Though you can’t be a hundred percent sure, try everything in your power to verify that a site is legit before joining. Use the earlier discussed tips and anything you feel will help. Verification is the first step to ensuring your safety.

The homepage of a dating site displays a register button
The homepage of a dating site displays a register button.

4. Don’t be naive

Assume everyone is guilty until proven otherwise. Immediately you get a match, treat the profile as a suspect, and look for evidence that clears your doubts. Especially if the profile seems interesting or the person seems like a potential match.

This will help you avoid obvious scams. If you are quick to trust, you won’t notice any red flags and will walk straight into a trap.

Are Dating Sites a Good Idea?

If you are careful, you will realize that joining a dating site is not a bad idea. You can have fun chatting and flirting with people, especially if you are lonely.

Besides, some people find their perfect match on these sites, so why not? However, don’t go in with the mentality of finding a perfect match. People will take advantage of you while portraying the qualities of what you are looking for.

Join to have fun, and if you find love, it’s a win for you. The point is, to keep an open mind, be conscious, and have fun.

Wrapping Up

Not all dating sites are legit. But if you think about it, dating sites are not the problem; those who join are. 

People join these sites with different intentions. Some to find love, others to have fun, and yet others to rip off your pockets. If you keep this in mind, you will have a good experience. But if you assume everyone is an angel, you will be sorry. 

I also must say that some dating sites don’t care much about you at all. 

There are rumors that some of them pay people to create fake profiles to make money. A person poses as a cute model, and guys need to pay to message them. 

It’s the sad reality in the world of dating. All in all, don’t limit yourself to fearing that you will be the next victim. 

Try your best to be cautious, and who knows? Maybe you will be the next person to tell a beautiful love story.  

Photo of author


Over the years, Stephanie has had her fair share of dating experiences. While some turned out great, others weren't so great. She believes that relationships are meant to be fun, exciting, and full of laughter. She wants to help men and women become confident, attractive, and successful in their romantic relationships.