Romance Scams & Never Been Kissed


Romance scams – scams that target dating app users – reached a record high over the course of the Pandemic. The Federal Trade Commission reports a record $304 million in losses due to romance scams in 2020.

It’s no coincidence that this happened during the pandemic. 

While we at Dates & Mates will always maintain that you are not in danger if you know what to look for, we want to make sure we give you all the tools to keep yourself safe.

Today, Damona is joined by Mark Brooks, dating industry advisor for the dating app background check software Real Me. He is one of the OGs on the dating scene and his blog, Online Personals Watch, actually played a huge hand in Damona’s own development as a dating and relationship expert.

But first there’s news to cover:


(2:06) Bumble is bringing coffee dates back to Manhattan

Bumble  is opening a restaurant-café called Bumble Brew in New York. The new restaurant is meant to be a “safe space for healthy and equitable relationships and connections.” Here’s why Damona is a fan: you need a safe public space for first dates. Above and beyond the safety concerns, Damona shares one client’s story that will definitely intrigue you.


(4:10) ScarJo and CoJo make a baby – everything you need to know about their relationship

Scarlett Johansson and SNL actor Colin Jost are having a baby! For years, ScarJo has been kind of Hollywood’s Ungettable Girl. So what finally attracted her to 



Today’s guest, Mark Brooks, is a dating safety and security expert. He is the official dating industry advisor for RealMe – a dating app integration that offers members of dating apps the ability to run background checks on potential matches.

He also runs an online dating news aggregate called Online Personal watch which reports daily on the latest goings on in the dating industry for executives – however Damona reads it regularly, too.

He is all about easy but effective safety solutions and today he’s going to tell us what you need to know to stay safe and secure in dating today:

(10:00) Trends in Online dating: The speed of dating has massively increased recently.

(13:57) The Addiction Factor: We are so addicted to notifications on our phone instead of interacting with those who are actually there with you.

(17:24) More Authenticity: There is a huge difference between social dating and using dating apps, especially when it comes to confirming identities of users. It’s crucial to be aware when using dating apps due to the recent and rapid increase in dating app scams. There are four types of dating app abusers. 

(27:34) Obscenity on Dating Apps: RealMe provides software to keep things clean on dating apps along with a vast number of other dating safety features.  

(34:34) Dating Apps & Felons: Should people with criminal records be allowed on dating apps?



Submit your questions on  Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • IG Message from Anonymous – If someone checks the box of “don’t want kids” on a dating site, does that mean for now or forever?
  • Email from C – Hi Damona. I am a 35 yr old (black female) virgin and regardless of what people say, I feel ashamed? It’s like a chip on my shoulder or a hurdle I need to overcome and I’ve felt and been made to feel like this since junior high. Needless to say, I’ve never been in a relationship or even really been kissed. When should I divulge that I’m a virgin? If at all? How can I find guys who are not just looking for a one night thing but are not trying to marry me in less than 6 months? (yes many guys trying to get married right now) DAMONA PLEASE HAAAAALP! lol




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