Travel dating scams are becoming very common nowadays. There are many websites and apps to find travel partners, travel buddy, travel guides and travel companions. Are they real? Almost all of them are looking genuine and it is a dream come true to have an awesome travel partner, which comes with other benefits while travelling! How real are those travel partners or are they mostly just scams? Here is an insight with my personal experiences.
As I see, there are mainly 2 types of travel dating scams when it comes to find travel dating partners.
1.) Use fake profiles and never meet you in person.
I would say that you can get away from these type 1 travel dating scams without much dramas.
These scammers typically create fake online profiles to lure you. They use beautiful profile photos, mostly sexy, with fictional names, location, job titles etc. They will start to communicate with you through the travel dating apps, expressing very strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time. Scammers always pretend like they are travellers from rich countries in Europe, USA, Australia etc.
Once a good bond has been established, the scammer will ask for money for an emergency situation such as medical, transport expenses, and most likely to promise to meet in person after this difficult period. So once you offer them money, you know the rest of the story. Actually there is no story after that 🙂
2.) Use real profiles and meet you in person.
This is when things get serious and worse in travel romance scams. You will meet the beautiful lady (I will assume the scammer is a women for the explanation. But it will be same for the opposite sex) as your travel partner. Most likely you will meet her in a different country, during your travel. These scammers never wants your love, but they can fake everything. They pretend like they found the ideal partner. It is a role play. Obviously you will spend for her all expenses, if not the most part.
If you meet her in her own country, then she will take you to fancy, expensive restaurants and you will end up paying lot of money for meals, including for her food as well. These restaurants, night clubs and all the fancy places that she will take you, are also part of the scam. They work together, draining all your money and credit cards. Also she might take you to some day time activities such as water sports etc, where she get a commission from those operators.
How travel dating scams will end up?
Finally at the end of the travel period, it is time to say good bye. She must be very happy if you manage to hold on to her until the last moment. If you still haven’t realised that you had spent too much money on your beautiful travel buddy, you will leave her at the end of travel with a dream of meeting her again. But the sad truth is that you will never see her again, unless you are happy to spend more money for her again, for the next travel.
Most people will realise the bitter truth in the middle of the travel dating scams and still it is possible to get away from the scammer. But you need to be very careful as these people are operating as gangs, or even connected to the local mafia. Also they already know lot of information about you and your travel plans, through your lovely travel buddy. They can even ask for some ransom for certain illegal things that you did for fun with your travel partner. That is why this second category is more serious and dangerous than the first category.
Travel dating scams could happen as local guiding services as well. They create genuine profiles in those apps. After connecting with them, soon you will realise that they offer sexual services etc for money. If they don’t ask for money, later you will have to pay expensive bills for them.
What are the popular travel dating apps?
There are many sites and apps to find dating travel partners including misstravel.com, travelhostdate.com, tourbar.com and yourtravelmates.com. Here I am not going to say all these sites are full of scammers. There may be legit travellers in opposite sex looking for same as you. Then it all depends on luck. Before you signup and pay for premium memberships of these kind of sites, first do your own research about them. Best things is to read customer reviews in independent websites like in google or sitejabber.com or productreview.com.au etc.
If you paid already and realised the site you signed up is full of romance scams, then first thing you should do is to cancel the membership. Those scam sites make it harder to unsubscribe so they can keep charging you every month. So if you were unable to cancel your membership, then contact your bank and ask them to block this sites charging you further or the worse case is cancel your credit card. Banks can do it and they are happy to help the customers.
Others apps for travellers
What other alternatives are there instead of finding travel dating partners? There are other apps to find travel mates, buddies, and travel friends. Most of those apps are not promoting romantic or dating services. Still you may find scam profiles in those sites, but definitely a lot lesser than travel dating scams apps. Some of those apps are workaway.info and trevolin.com. I came across tourlina.com to find a travel buddy, which is only for women.
How do you stay away from travel romance scams?
- Before you become a paid member of an app, check the reviews. Check it in few review forums.
- Never pay any one that you met over the internet. Travel dating scams are very common. No matter how emotionally close you are. The chances that they disappear after that is very high.
- If you meet your travel buddy in person, then explain your intentions at the first meeting. If they are expecting to scam you, most likely they will not come back to meet you.
- Do your own research about the places that your travel buddy wants to take you. Suggest your own places to go, so they will not be able to take you to expensive places for dining.
- If you are suspicious about the photos that your travel buddy is showing, check the source of those images in tineye.com
- While you are traveling with your newly met travel buddy, keep all your personal information in safe place. Do not save your bank card pin number or any banking passwords in your phone.
- In case of any threat, immediately contact the local police, so keep the emergency numbers with you.