Gay Dating Scams in 2024: Things to Know and Protection

By Ruth Jesse

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

gay scam format

Online dating in itself is a bit sketchy thing, to say the least. However, many online-dating scams surface quite often and more commonly than you would expect. Despite the advancement in technology and digital resources, many people face romance scams. All while they try to search for love and partnership on various dating sites and apps.

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This situation with online dating scams especially worsens when people try to find love on gay dating sites.

The problem of such scams especially arises with the gay community because of the stigma attached to the LGBT community. Whether you are gay, lesbian, bi, or one of the queer people, you may become a target of such scams.

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Even in this modern time and era, the LGBT community faces discrimination on many levels. Their legal rights are also not very heavily protected. And in most countries, the gay community is still criminalized to some extent.

Even if the country does not restrict it, the people still show partiality towards them. This is one reason why still, many gays and lesbians do not come out or reveal their sexual orientation openly. Many of them fear that their family members will not accept them. or will look down upon them. They try to remain closeted for as long as possible.

But the natural urge to have a partner or a romantic interest is still there. So, at one point, their loneliness and fear worsen. This is when they finally give in and start looking for love on gay dating sites.

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Most dating sites and apps are good to use and quite secure. The problem comes when people face gay dating scams during their quest for love. Scammers are always on the lookout for their next victim, from whom they can extort money.

For this reason, they look for their social media profile or any other ways in the digital world. They use this information to find their next victims.

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In this article, we will discuss in detail the various formats that scammers use to scam innocent gay victims during online dating. We will also discuss different methods through which a dating site or a dating app could be used safely. And how people can protect themselves online from becoming victims of dating scams.

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Gay Dating Scams: Typical Formats

Romance scams can happen anywhere, but they are especially common on online dating sites. Romance scams are more common within the gay community, unfortunately. It’s mostly because of the reasons of discretion and the element of social stigma attached to homosexuality.

Most of the gay dating scams occur through some typical patterns or formats. Let’s have a look at some of the most common formats. They may happen to anyone on a gay dating app or gay dating site:

➤ The Sugar Daddy Format:

A sugar daddy or a sugar momma is an old-age concept in the world of gay men and queer people. It is a person who is older. They pay younger people for sexual favors in the offline and dating realm. Unfortunately, within the gay community, this is the most common format. Scammers use this method to trap innocent gay men or lesbians through dating apps.

What this scammer does is: pretend to be someone above 5o years of age. And then they target people with sweet-talking and a lot of caring words and praises. The victim finds them super genuine. These older people or scammers may not be old in reality. But maybe they are pretending to be so to trap an innocent person.

They especially go for younger men and occasionally, women. The reason is that they are mostly more adventurous and a little reckless to fall into the trap easily. This is not true for everyone, but it is common knowledge. Someone who is 40 years old is expected to be a little more experienced and knowledgeable than a person who is 18 years old.

So, these sugar daddies and mommas look out for such people who seem to be less worldly. And then comes a more easy target in the form of a closeted gay man. This guy tries to hide his sexual orientation from his family members. So, such a person becomes an unfortunate victim of these scammers.

Once the victims become comfortable while talking with the scammers, these “sugar daddies or mommas” start their game. They urge the victim to either buy some pre-paid cards or other stuff like an iTunes card. They will ask the victims to send them the code.

Or weave a story of how they need a prepaid card for payments and transactions to be successful. In short, they will create a situation where the victim will start sending them money. Whereas it’s supposed to be the other way around.

Now, such scams can happen with very smart and worldly people too. But no matter how intelligent people are, this trope is pretty common, unfortunately. Scam stories from victims suggest that this particular format is more popular than anyone would like to believe.

So, be watchful if something like this happens to you.

➤ The “underling” fraud:

This format is the exact opposite of the format we discussed before.

Many older people have fetishes to engage in personal and intimate relationships with younger people. So, scammers often use this format. They reach out to an older person, pretending to be someone a lot younger.

Once they start dating online, the scammer tries to ask for the victim their personal information. They try to pry the victim’s details about their jobs, lifestyle, etc. This is because they want to get an idea of how much money the victim makes for a living.

This is where a person should get their first red flag. It is a common warning for everyone. It is not ideal to share personal information and personal details, photos, and other details about life with a random person.

Especially when you meet them on a digital dating site. The reason is, of course, that there are many scammers out there looking just for their next prey to earn some quick cash.

Now, in this format, the scammer who poses to be a young person indulges in intimate chat. The digital conversation may include the exchange of explicit photos to excite the older person on the other side.

Once, the victim gets comfortable, they also start exchanging their explicit photos. This is where the younger person or the scammer drops the bomb on the victim’s head. They tell them that they are underage. And that they can get the older person in legal trouble for indulging in inappropriate conversation with an underage person.

This is where things get nasty. The victim will most likely have a family or a social setup where they wouldn’t want to be portrayed or revealed as a sexual pervert. So, they are left with no choice but to fulfill the demands of their blackmailer.

They often end up paying a hefty sum of money to bury the hatchet in the ground. And to wipe out the proof of the fraud completely.

➤ Demanding money in exchange for gifts:

This format is quite easy to detect. When people connect with someone on a dating app or a website, they may seem to develop an instant connection. When the conversation progresses, the relationship starts to get stronger.

However, this may not happen to everyone. The internet is full of stories from people who get scammed on dating sites and apps. And that too, through some very easy tropes.

One such format that scammers use to target victims is: After developing a good rapport with the victim, they one day tell that it is their birthday. Or any other special occasion, like a job promotion, or something like that.

Now, the victims, are mostly full of their newfound lovey-dovey feelings for the other person. They probably have started considering them as their soulmate. Even though their common sense would dictate to them that this is a red flag, they will still not pay heed to it. And will end up sending money or cash to their “beloved” because they do not want a gift.

The scammers use this tactic to extort money from the victim. From the beginning, it is their intention. But unfortunately, the victim is so much in love that they ditch their senses. And then, fall prey to such a fraud…that too, quite easily.

➤ Pay for their conveyance:

Now, this is not so harmful. Nevertheless, is a common format that scammers use on innocent people whom they meet through dating sites or apps.

When two people connect on a gay dating app or site, there will come one point where the victim would want to meet their beloved in person.

This is where the scam begins. The scammer would weave a tale about some problem with their car. They might say that their car broke. Or how they do not have the conveyance to reach the place where the meeting is supposed to happen.

Seemingly harmless amongst lovers, they will very casually ask their partner to send them an Uber or a cab. Most decent partners will pay for it too. And so, the scammer will get what they want- free conveyance at the expense of someone else!

This is something quite common amongst regular couples also. So, it does not always mean to be a red flag, but there is no harm in staying cautious with someone whom you have met just a while ago, and that too, on an online dating app or site.

Normally, such a scammer runs away after scamming the victim once. However, there are many tenacious people out there.

This scammer may return with a story. They may tell the victim how difficult it is for them to commute on a general basis also. Maybe you can check out a pattern for this then. If your “date” always has some excuse about their car or other means of conveyance. You can be quite sure that they are trying to use you for transportation.

➤ The No-Calls Policy:

When two people meet online and try to start up a romantic relationship, it is very natural that they would like to be able to talk to each other. They may want to get along through telephone conversation also. Not only through messaging and chat.

Now, a scammer usually avoids making calls. The reason is simple. There is a lot of hassle. They will have to use a different number. They will attempt to hide their location while trying to veil their real identity.

They are most likely using a fake relationship profile or status on the dating app or site too. And they are not what they pretend to be in front of their online date.

Hence, it is convenient for them to avoid phone calls most of the time.

However, this is not a set criterion that every person whom you meet online is like that. Some people take their time before getting too comfortable with something as personal as a phone call.

Many people take at least a week or two to get to know the other person better. After that only, they will feel comfortable exchanging phone calls with them.

This is a normal occurrence in any kind of dating. It is fairly common in the case of online dating too.

➤ Love proclamation, a little too soon:

When two people meet and connect, they usually take some time to build a strong relationship with each other. However, when someone encounters a scammer while trying to look for love on an online site or app, one thing they can encounter. It can be a sure red flag. Their typical “I Love You” might happen a little too soon than what you expected.

Some people take time to make their love proclamation, agreed. But during digital dating, one cannot be too sure of what the other person means or is trying to achieve. The trust level is also a little iffy at the beginning of any relationship.

So, a typical I love you that happens a little too soon. Or if you feel that the other person is rushing things with you, then just stop. Look into your relationship and that person closely. You need to be 100% sure before you progress your relationship with them.

This is a common format or trope that most scammers use. It is a way to get what they want from the victim. They believe that “Love” is what the other person is looking for. So, they use it as quickly as possible to win their trust.

➤ Using fake profiles:

Many scammers use fake social media profiles and fake photos. They try to appear completely normal and innocent in the eyes of the people they target for scams.

Amongst the gay community, fake profiles can be very useful. They can make people believe or fall into their traps easily.

➤ Sending out explicit photos:

As the title suggests, this is some nasty blackmailing stuff. The scammer first reaches out to a person, shows their interest, and builds a rapport with them. The next step is that they start intimate chatting, and send explicit photos and videos to the victim. In return, they demand the victim to start doing the same to show their “love” and “trust” in them.

Needless to say, when the victim does that, the scammer starts blackmailing them. The victim may be a closeted gay person, so the stakes are higher for them. And this is what the blackmailer is going to make use of. They will blackmail the victim into leaking their personal information and their sexual orientation to their family members. Or worse, defame them as sexual perverts.

To prevent the chaos, the victim is then forced to pay a lump sum of money. This is the price they have to pay to hide their truth from the world.

If you are gay or anyone from the LGBT community, you should be watchful of this format.

Things to Remember for Gay Dating Scams

It is nice to fall in love with someone you believe is your soulmate. Things appear brighter and life becomes interesting when you have a romantic love by your side.

This is especially true for people who have to fight with the world because of their sexual orientation. They may not be what the general public calls, “normal.” But their feelings and their urge to belong to someone cannot be undermined at all.

We have given a detailed account of how Gay dating scams can happen on various dating apps and dating sites. Now, the things to remember to avoid getting scammed include the following:

☀ Never give your personal information online:

This goes without saying. Your personal information can be used against you in the digital world in more ways than you can imagine. A place where predators are waiting for their next victim, this is just something basic that you should avoid. Unless you are sure about the person you are interacting with on your dating app or site.

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☀  Never share explicit photos:

If you are sure about your partner, and if you both have complete trust in each other. Perhaps then exchanging intimate stuff with each other while dating online is not that big of an issue. However, it is not a good idea in general.

Your partner might not turn out to be a scammer. And they may not even leak your photos. But digital realms and chat messengers are pretty unreliable with user privacy. There is always a chance that your partner’s phone gets snatched.

Or one of their friends uses their phone and sees your intimate photos in there. You do not want yourself to be on display for other random people now, do you?

So, it is better to avoid exchanging intimate photos through chat messengers. Even if things are steamy between you and your partner. It’s better to see each other in person rather than in photos anyway.

☀  Do not give in to online extortion demands:

It is natural to panic when you are being blackmailed by a scammer. However many legal practitioners suggest that victims should not pay scammers without trying legal avenues first. Many things can be done to avoid these scams. To protect your hard-earned money and yourself, you should take the matter to a trusted lawyer.

☀ Be mindful if they are rushing matters:

You might meet someone online who is a little too eager to take matters into an extremely personal and intimate zone. If this happens, then consider it as a red flag. This person may not be sincere to you. And they may be trying to scam you for money.

Scammers do not like to waste time on building relationships. They want everything quickly. They want to gain the victim’s trust. And they want to become indispensable for them at any cost.

For that, they may offer extremely intimate services that the victim may find hard to resist. Some people use sex as a means to weaken the other person’s resolve.

This person that you have met online on a dating site may exactly be trying to do the same. So, you need to raise your guards a little higher.

This is not something that happens in all relationships. People have all types of partners. It is not necessary that if they are quick to express their feelings for you, then they are wrong. No, of course not. This is just a subjective matter. But sadly, many internet stories about digital dating scams tell that it is quite common.

☀ Be wary as a general principle:

As a rule of thumb, always remember that you need to take things slowly and carefully. Especially when you are dating on a gay site or app.

This does not mean that you have to take forever. But the truth is that you can never be cautious enough!

This does not mean that you have to develop severe trust issues with people. It just means that you have to be a little careful before you lay all your trust in someone. Especially someone whom you meet online. Avoid giving out your personal information, details about your job, your earnings, your family, etc.

☀ Do not open sketchy links:

This is another format that tech-savvy scammers often use.

To explain this trope, let us tell you a little scam story that happened a while ago to a man in China.

He was sitting in his lounge, having dinner with his cousin when he received a message on his chat messenger from an unknown number.

Curious, he opened the link. To his surprise, found a ten-second long video of another man masturbating.

As soon as the video ended, he received a message from that number again. This man left his dinner, and out of curiosity, opened the link to that message. And to his shock, it was a video where he was shown watching the previous video.

The first link contained malware. It had somehow recorded that person watching a video that he probably was not proud of. Needless to say, the scammer used that second video to blackmail the man.

The blackmailer said that this video was proof that the man was a “sexual pervert.” He threatened to leak the compromising video and send it to the victim’s family members and friends. Also, they were blackmailed by the scammer to be revealed as a closeted gay man.

Although homosexual relations are legal in China, however, they are still looked down upon. People from the LGBT community mostly try to keep their sexual orientation hidden for as long as possible.

Therefore, for this victim, it was indeed a scary situation. And it could all have been avoided. Only if he had not opened that sketchy message from an unknown number in the first place!


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☀ Think before appearing vulnerable:

Yes, that is right. Scammers are using catfishing techniques to trap people who appear to be lonely, affluent, and emotionally vulnerable.

It is alright to feel all those things. And it is perfectly healthy to discuss your feelings with someone you deeply trust. But it is not advisable that you put yourself out there, all open and raw. You cannot let anyone play with your emotions and money.

Signs of a Scammer:

There are no concrete signs that can tell if a person is a scammer or not. However, we have compiled a list of traits that can be taken as an immediate red flag. This list is based on the many internet stories of romance scams and the common formats.

1. They are always lonely

People are lonely, and this is not a generalization rule that all lonely people are frauds. But it is a red flag when you meet someone online and they tell you a sob story. They might tell you how lonely and pathetic their life has been before finding you. You need to look more into this person before melting into their false tales of neediness.

2. They always have a painful past

Well, again, this is not a general rule that all people with a tragic past turn into scammers. But most real-life scammers use this trope. It is their way to win the sympathy of their victim whom they are trying to trap online.

3. They show that they have trust issues

Almost always they will tell you that they have serious trust issues. And that they do not have faith in anyone except you. This is a psychological trap to make you feel compelled to trust them in return too. Once you fall into their trap and give in to their initial demands, they will begin their game. They might make you send money to them in return. Or get into something dangerous.

4.  Their photos are mostly studio-edited or photoshopped

Firstly, they will not show any photos. Even if they do, then most likely they are not their real photos. Instead, they are either photoshopped or edited using high-tech tools.

5. They jump to talk to you more intimately through email or a chat messenger

As we mentioned earlier, these scammers do not like to waste time in building a relationship with you. Instead, they want to rush the matter quickly. They may even start calling you their love or their boyfriend. And that might be as soon as the next day of meeting you online. Their love proclamation will also be hasty.

The gay dating sites and apps are usually quite secure. So, these scammers would prefer to leave the secure site as soon as possible. They would urge you to take matters to your email or some other chat messenger service.

This way, they will try to gain access to your email address and your phone number.

Try not to become a victim of such scams by just being a little careful.

6. They mostly pretend to travel a lot

They will initially tell you that they are from one country. But they will pretend to be traveling a lot to other countries too. They often pretend that they have been transferred to a new job location or a new place entirely.

The reasons are simple:

  • These scammers are not looking to be caught
  • The fraudsters want to give you the impression that they are extremely busy people. And how difficult it is for them to take out time for you. But they somehow manage for the sake of “love”
  • They want to make you believe that they earn well and do not need anything but your love. This way, they play with your psyche. They will create a scene where they would need money. They will tell you that they somehow lost their job or something like that. And there, you will sympathize with them because of the impression they have created. You will innocently consider their fake story as a genuine case. You will naively wonder why an otherwise successful man would want to scam you. They probably really need this money. And so, the scammers’ scheme will work and you will get scammed.

7.  Their emails are mostly too business-like instead of being personal

Their emails are mostly without names. It will give you a feeling that these emails are in some kind of pre-written form. They are business-like, full of their sob stories to make your heart melt for them.

Despite how much they want to communicate through emails with you, their email messages will never have a personal touch. Because they are most likely written by someone who has used them for many innocent victims before you.

A Gay Dating Scam Story

There are many gay dating scam stories over the internet. The reason for this is the specific nature of their orientation and the stigma attached to it. Even in societies where homosexuality is not criminalized anymore. It all makes these people from the LGBT community quite vulnerable.

One such incident happened with T. Mehta from India. He was in communication with a guy over an online dating app. He had revealed his workplace and some other details to the person with whom he was trying to build a relationship. One day, that guy called and told Mehta that he was near his office, so he wanted to drop by and meet.

Mehta invited him in. What could have been a romantic meeting turned into a scar on Mehta’s heart forever. The guy turned out to be a scammer who came to his office. He blackmailed him so that he would reveal all about “them” in front of everyone.

When Mehta tried to fight it off, that scammer’s ally joined in. Together, they managed to take Mehta to an ATM nearby. They made him withdraw INR 20,000. They took the money in exchange for keeping the matter under wraps.

Sadly, the faith that Mehta had in humans diminished that day. However, his faith in humanity and love for animals was strengthened. This was because when Mehta was being mugged by two humans, some stray dogs came forward to his rescue.

These were the dogs whom Mehta used to show kindness to. The stray dogs started barking and made the scammers escape with the money. While Mehta suffered monetary loss, at least he was not physically harmed.

After such a sad incident, Mehta decided to never get back on a gay dating site or app.

The muggers threatened him to never reveal anything about this incident to anyone. Otherwise, they would reach his home as they had his address too.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are many lessons that you can take from Mehta’s story.
  • First, he probably trusted a little too much in a guy he met just a few days ago on an online dating app.
  • He should not have revealed his personal information.
  • The scammer was able to call him which meant that Mehta must have revealed his phone number to him. As well as his office address. Now, after all these details, it must have been really easy for the scammers to track down Mehta’s home address. They probably even used his family members to threaten him.
  • The scammer had an ally. This probably means that none of the chats that Mehta had shared with this guy online were safe. We do not know the level of intimacy in their chats. But if there was an exchange of photos or videos, then they also put him in danger out there.

So, this story ticks all the boxes that tell us the various ways these scammers get under your skin. And then use your personal information against you in the most unfathomable ways.

Victim blaming? Not cool

Here, it is important to mention that the victim should never be blamed. The problem is not with the victim. The victim’s trust is not a mistake. It’s the way they are, and for anything, it just shows their sincere heart. However, the problem occurs when the trust becomes blind. And this is what people should avoid at all costs, whether dating online or offline.

Too much of everything is toxic. And so, too much trust and implicit faith are also toxic and should be avoided.

Wrap Up

No matter how digitalized the world gets, online dating is a little unreliable. Especially in comparison to personal dating in the non-digital realm. The chances of getting scammed are there in non-digital dating also. However, the risk is certainly higher in online dating systems.

You never know who is there on the other side of the screen. You cannot judge them properly through their facial expressions and mannerisms as you can do in a face-to-face meeting.

Having said that, this does not mean that you cannot find love through online dating. There are many success stories in this regard. But what is important is that you exercise as much caution as possible. Especially when you interact with random people on dating apps or sites.

If you are from the LGBTQ community, it is especially important for you. You need to exercise more caution to not become a victim of any online dating scam. Your sexual orientation should not make you an easy target for anyone.

We have mentioned all the tricks and tips that can help you determine red flags in your relationship or about your partner. We hope that you find this article super helpful in finding the right person for yourself if you are looking for some entertainment or a serious relationship.





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Ruth Jesse

Ruth is a life coach who specialises in relationships and career development. Outside work, she loves writing novels and guides for personal development.

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