Tag Archive for: Romance Scams

4 Signs Your Online Boyfriend is a Catfish

Before you start this article, know that I don’t think dating apps are full of catfish. I have never come across a catfish that wasn’t easy to spot. And I know you know how much time I spend looking at online dating profiles for my clients. If you keep an eye out for the signs of a fake boyfriend, you won’t fall prey to romance scams.

Recently a former client came to me for advice about his daughter who was in an LDR (long-distance relationship) with a man she met online. He had some valid concerns: First, the girl is 19 and her online boyfriend is 25. That’s quite an age gap which puts them in two very different places in life. She’s just graduating high school and he’s already beginning his career. I can see why a father would have concerns about a potential catfish.

Here’s the real kicker: they have never met but she’s totally smitten and willing to put her love life on hold. She’ll even miss her senior prom because she believes she is in love and he will find her and sweep her off her feet.


Here’s Why It Matters

I’ve written in the past about catfish scams which often target older women. However, in 2020, romance scams reached a record $304 million in losses reported to the Federal Trade Commission in the United States. That’s up about 50% from 2019.

Increasingly, younger women are falling into the emotional catfish, which can have even more devastating consequences when they end (and they most often do end). 

The catfish victim might have feelings of shame, may doubt their choices, feel unworthy of love and can have trouble connecting to a new suitor IRL (in real life.)

The point of online dating is to actually date.

It troubles me that so many virtual connections never make the transition into in-person dates,  wasting tons of time and emotional energy in the process.

If you think you or someone you know has developed an emotional attachment to a man they met online and it may be going nowhere, here are 4 Sure Signs Your Online Boyfriend is a Catfish:

He Will Never Meet You In Person

Even if you’ve talked on the phone and heard his voice and he “sounds” nice, if he doesn’t do everything in his power to see you face to face, he’s a catfish. Men want physical connection and ultimately are driven to have sex with women they are attracted to. Simply put, if a man wants to date you, he will find a way to get to you.

His Online Identity is a Mismatch

If you Google, Facebook, or Instagram stalk him and his name or photo doesn’t match up with the guy you think he is, you have a problem. No matter how well he tries to explain this away, it’s shady. Proceed at your own risk.

He Only Calls You At One Time Of Day

If your man is only available late at night or on the weekends and he always denies your call if you ring him during off-peak hours, you are probably his side chick. He doesn’t have a second job or a really busy schedule. He might not be a catfish, but he is playing you.

He Has Lots of Pretty Lady Friends Online

There are many ways that a Facebook profile can be a dead giveaway for an online predator. Most commonly if he has a very small and seemingly unconnected group of friends and/or he’s friends with an over-abundance of women it could mean that he’s using this account to connect with his virtual harem which is not something you want to be part of.

It’s so hard to watch a woman waste her time with a catfish and these sort of phantom relationships give online dating a bad name. Meet your e-crush early and often and do your due diligence to make sure your online boyfriend is the real deal.

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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