18 Questions To Ask A Romance Scammer To Identify Them

Online Dating | | , Editor-in-Chief
Updated On: February 28, 2024
Questions To Ask A Romance Scammer

The next time you log on to the internet in search of love, be mindful that a romance scammer may be lurking around. Waiting for an opportunity to pull at your heartstrings to get you to loosen up those purse strings. Fortunately, with the right questions to ask a romance scammer, you can stop such a fraud in its tracks.

A person who is out to scam you under the pretext of falling in love with you is bound to have done their homework, prepared a believable back story, and created a cover that can be protected to an extent. So, simple, straightforward questions aren’t going to yield the insights you need to confirm your suspicion about a potential beau’s intentions.

Digging below the surface and making inquiries that can make the person on the other end squirm is the only way to identify a romance scammer. If you’re looking for questions to ask to see if someone is real online, we’ve got you back.

18 Questions To Ask A Romance Scammer To Identify Them

How to catch a romance scammer? If you’re wondering about this either because you suspect that a person making romantic overtures may be out to scam you or just to be safe, know that it’s all about learning to spot and uncover romance scammer tactics. Since such people have a lot to hide, they prefer to be in control of the conversation. This helps them protect their identity, share the details they want you to hear, and slowly establish a hold on your heart and mind.

Considering there is no way to perform a background check on a person who claims to be halfway across the world from you, with an internet connection the only thing connecting you, you need to look out for the things scammers say to swoop into your life, leave you swooning, and depart with money, leaving you gutted, emotionally and financially. That’s the only way to stay safe in the world of online dating.

A simple yet effective way to detect romance scams and save yourself from catfishing is by assuming control of the narrative with some smart, pointed queries. Here are 15 questions to ask a romance scammer that will help you draw them out:

Related Reading: Dating Apps: Great To Find Real Fake People?

1. Where did you grow up?

This is one of the easiest questions to ask a scammer. Now, when you first ask them where they’re from, a romance scammer will likely reply without hesitation or delay. But their answer will always be vague and generic. For instance, if they’ve told you they’re from the States and working overseas currently, they may say, “I grew up in the Chicago area.” That’s the city of Chicago and 14 other counties in the state of Illinois.

So, one of the first questions to ask a romance scammer is about the specific details of their home. Where in Chicago? Which area, suburb, street, and so on. How can you tell someone is a romance scammer? A person who has never stepped foot in the US will definitely struggle to answer this. If they struggle with this one, you can be sure they are playing you. That’s your first clue to identify a romance scammer.

2. What hospital were you born in?

Let’s say the person you’ve been talking to manages to answer the first question convincingly and even goes on to share stories about their childhood, but you can’t shake off the niggling doubt about their real identity. Perhaps because this unrealistically attractive person with an equally incredulous back story and a perfectly crafted dating profile seems too good to be true and your instinct is picking up on it.

Well, it’s time to up the ante with personal questions so that you can outsmart a romance scammer before they succeed in catfishing you. Asking them about the hospital they were born in can be a smart question to test a romance scammer. They may have picked up a few details about the place they claim to be from off the internet but it will be a lot harder for them to find credible information about hospitals and medical services in the area going decades back. A nifty way to trick a romance scammer, we say. And if they say it was a home birth, it’s a good indicator that your suspicions may not be unfounded after all.

3. Which school/college did you attend?

What to ask a scammer to unravel their ruse? Why not use a classic question people use as an icebreaker or to actually get to know someone as one of the questions to ask to make sure you’re not getting scammed? In all probability, a scammer will steer clear of Ivy League institutions such as Harvard or Yale. They will give a more obscure name or say that they didn’t go to college at all.

In that case, ask them where they finished high school. As you venture into specifics, you will begin to notice that the romance scammer is doing their best to dodge your questions. You must persevere. If they get defensive, tell them it’s because you want to get to know them better.

4. Oh, do you know (insert name)?

questions to ask to see if someone is real online
Dig deep to catch a scammer in a lie

No matter how obscure or unknown the name of a school or college this person throws at you, run a quick internet search to see if it exists. If it doesn’t, that in itself gives you something to confront them. If it does, it’s time to bring out the big guns, i.e. tricky questions to ask a dating scammer.

Just make up a fictitious friend or cousin and ask them if they know him/her. “Oh, you must know Debra then. She is my cousin who attended the same school. She graduated high school around the same time as you and was the head cheerleader.” Now, it’s virtually impossible to not know the head cheerleader of a school you attend.

Unless this person actually went to this school or college (the chances of which are next to none) and tells you in no uncertain terms that there was no such girl, this gives you a pretty good opportunity to catch them on a lie. Particularly, if they say they do know a Debra you’ve just created.

5. What is your middle name?

How do you know if you are chatting with a scammer? The answer to that question lies in paying attention to the details such as the love scammer names. If the person you’re interacting with is indeed a romance scammer, rest assured that they will give you a rather generic name. They will be Tom, John, Robert, Emma, Karen, Emily or some such. And have an equally universal second name too, if they choose to share it with you at all.

So, ask them for their middle name on the pretext that you want to know them better to be able to take the relationship to the next level. A person operating under an assumed identity will find themselves lost at this question. Coming up with a middle name and a convincing backstory for it on the spot is no child’s play. It can help you identify if you’re in a fake relationship.

6. What is your family like?

A majority of romance scammers are part of syndicates that operate out of unheard-of towns and cities in underdeveloped countries in Africa or Asia. While they may have some superficial knowledge about the US, it is impossible to truly know the familial structure or culture of a place you’ve never been to.

So, asking them about their family is the perfect way to put them on the edge. This is one of those questions to ask to make sure you’re not getting scammed that is sure to bring some glaring red flags to the fore if the person on the other end is, in fact, a scammer. They will either avoid answering or give you some super dramatic story about not having a family at all – these are the kinds of things scammers say to wriggle out of uncomfortable conversations. Recognize it for the red flag it is.

7. What’s your favorite restaurant back home?

Again this is one of the questions to ask a romance scammer that taps into the power of specifics. Since they actually know little or nothing about the city they claim to be from, you will find them fumbling for an answer. If you’re interacting over text messages, they may even cut the conversation short on some pretext or the other. This goes against the rules of texting while dating, which should be considered a red flag.

Or if they say a McDonald’s or Subway on a particular street is their favorite place to eat, you can be certain they’re lying through their teeth. Who even lists a fast-food chain as their favorite restaurant in a city they grew up in! In all likelihood, their response is the result of a quick internet search.

8. What was your favorite ritual as a child?

Be it an occasional picnic in a local park with extended family or friends or annual trips to a cabin in the woods somewhere, everyone has memories of certain family rituals that were an integral part of their growing-up years. Even if this person is selling you an orphan sob story, they must have had some support system growing up. How can you tell if someone is a romance scammer? Ask them to recount their childhood memories to you and you will be able to tell whether the person is genuine or a gold-digger who is out to scam you.

9. What was your favorite TV show growing up?

By now, you must have sensed there is a pattern to the questions to ask to see if someone is real online. The key is to really get into the nitty-gritty of their family, their formative years, their childhood experiences, and so on. One such topic to bring up when trying to ascertain, “How do I know if I am talking to a scammer?”, is to ask them about their favorite TV show as a child. Again, the premise is the same. If the life story they are selling you isn’t real, they wouldn’t have authentic answers to this question.

Related Reading: Are You Falling In Love Too Fast? 8 Reasons You Should Slow Down

10. What are you up to right now?

For such questions to ask a scammer you may have to shed your inhibitions. To track a scammer on Hangouts or Messenger or any other such chat platform, ask them what they’re doing. Then, sneakily hit the video call button. If it’s a romance scammer on the other side, they will NEVER accept the call.

Of course, they may give you a zillion lame excuses for it – “My connection is poor”, “I look like crap. I don’t want you to see me like this” or “There are people around me”, to name a few. The fact is they’re trying so hard to not engage with you in real time because they don’t to reveal their true identity. The more often you try, the more sketchy their responses start to seem. How do you stop a romance scammer if not by pushing them to the edge?

11. When can we plan a video call date?

questions to ask to make sure you're not getting scammed
A scammer will never agree to a video call

How to catch a romance scammer? What is the best way to outsmart a romance scammer? What are some good questions to ask to see if someone is real online? We’ve got two words for you: video calls. Insist on seeing them up close, suggest a few FaceTime date ideas, and tell them since meeting face-to-face is not an option given the distance, virtual dates are the next best option for you to really connect with each other. is one strategy that always works.

In case your supposed beau or romantic interest is, in fact, a perpetrator of online scams, they will 100% either turn down your request or make some excuses to cancel the date at the last minute. The fact that they are doing everything in their power to avoid a situation where you can get to see them is a red flag that should deter you from taking things forward.

Related Reading: What Is Financial Infidelity And How To Recognize It

12. What’s your day like?

Say the person you’re talking to has told you that they’re in the military and currently stationed in Afghanistan. Make some effort to find out people around you who have served there – preferably recently – and ask them what a typical day there looks like. Then, ask this person the same question. If what they describe to you is far removed from the description offered by a real veteran and resembles the plot of a war thriller more closely, you know they’re bluffing.

They may tell you that they can’t divulge much owing to the sensitive nature of their posting. In that case, insist on hearing whatever they can share. Like what their living arrangements are like, what kind of meals they eat, what’s the temperature there, and so on. This is the best way to trick a romance scammer into unwittingly revealing their true identity and saving yourself from the pain of a broken heart and a cleaned out bank account.

13. What was your life like before this assignment?

Whether it’s a person serving in the military, a corporate employee on an offshore assignment, or an oil rig worker, they must have had a life before this current gig came along. So, add this to your list of questions to ask a romance scammer to catch them off-guard. Ask them about their place of work, past relationships, friends, where they lived, and so on. How can you tell if someone is a romance scammer with this question? The sketchier their responses, the surer you can be that this thing isn’t real.

14. What was your longest relationship and why did it end?

Talking about your respective pasts is par for the course in getting to know a potential romantic interest. Why not use it to test whether the person you’ve connected with is genuine or part of the prevalent romance scams doing the rounds in the virtual world? When you ask this question, really gun for the details. How did they meet their ex? How long was the relationship? What was their ex like? Why did the relationship end? Who initiated it and how?

Their responses will tell you enough about how genuine the person is. If they try to steer clear of this topic claiming the breakup was too painful to talk about or come up with a sketchy story with generic names and sparse details, it’s a potential warning sign that they may not be the person they claim to be.

15. What are your social media handles?

If you connected over an online dating site, ask them for their handles on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, saying you’d like to connect with them. If you met on one of the social media platforms, ask for details about the others. One possibility is that they may deny having a social media presence altogether. That in itself should be enough to confirm your suspicions.

Nearly everyone today has some sort of social media presence. The fact that someone so active online doesn’t is more than odd. Alternatively, they may share their social media profiles with you. In that case, pay attention to their posts to see how authentic the profile seems. Generic photos, very few friends, or recently created accounts are all signs that these are fake profiles.

Related Reading: Here’s The Best Online Dating Advice You Can Find On The Internet

16. Can I see your photo?

How can you tell if someone is a romance scammer? Try building upon romance scammer messages to ask them some unnerving questions. For instance, if they flatter you by saying that you have the loveliest smile, you could respond with, “I don’t think I have seen your smile up close. Can you send me a picture right now?”

Typically, love scammer photos are nondescript and generic at best. Their profile picture may be a long shot where their face is not clearly visible or a back shot with just a hint of their side profile, or maybe they’re using something generic like a cat photo. If you think about it, you’ll realize you don’t really have a face to put to this person trying to get intimately involved with you. If that’s not one of the glaring red flags about their authenticity, what is! Ask them for a picture to confirm your suspicion and see how they react. Someone who is playing you will bolt at a lightning-fast pace at the mere mention of this.

Stories about online dating

17. When can we meet?

Another way you can use scammer love messages to put them in a corner is to use their words as a pretext to suggest you want to meet in person. For instance, if this person says, “Gosh, I miss you.” Respond with, “I do too. When can we meet?” Expect an evasive, non-committal response from the other side.

How do you know if you are chatting with a scammer? A mere mention of an in-person meeting will have them acting in an uncharacteristic manner. They may get defensive, they may ghost you for a while, or they may lovebomb you to no end. Their reaction notwithstanding, you must hold your ground.

Ask more pointed questions like “When are you expected to return home?” or “Is there a place near where you’re based that we can meet?” The more you insist on meeting in person, the more jittery they will get. They may even decide to make their ultimate move sooner to be able to milk you for some cash before the scam unravels.

Related Reading: Real-Life Incidents That Show The Threats Women Face In Online Dating

18. Can I have your social security number?

This becomes the most important among the questions to ask a romance scammer in the event that this imposter asks you for money. First of all, never ever agree to send money to a person you’ve never even met in your life just because their story seems convincing. Always lead with, “I’ll see what I can do.” No matter how big or small the amount.

Then, in your following interaction, tell them that you discussed the matter with your lawyer/financial advisor/bank account manager, and they need their social security number to complete the transfer. Of course, they won’t be able to furnish a social security number they don’t have. That will be the end of their con on you.

Once you have been able to identify a romance scammer, make it a point to report it to the authorities. If you are wondering, “How do you stop a romance scammer?”, you should aim at getting out of it unscathed and leave the rest to the authorities. You can register your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Romance scammers typically target people who are financially stable and emotionally vulnerable – middle-aged singles, widows, widowers, or divorcees. If you or your friends belong to that target group, spread the word and help them understand how to outsmart a romance scammer.


1. Will a scammer video call you?

No, one of the romance scammer tactics is to avoid video calls at all costs. They may do so because they may be hiding behind a fake identity. If you get to see the real person you’re interacting with, their entire con falls flat. You can treat this as one of the most straightforward questions to ask to make sure you’re not getting scammed.

2. How do you know if you are talking to a scammer?

If you’re talking to a scammer, first and foremost, they will seem too eager to take the relationship with your forward. A scammer will be almost aggressive in their expressions of love and do everything in their power to make you feel the same way too. Once you take the bait, they’d swoop in with demands for money. Keep a few questions to ask a dating scammer ready in your arsenal.

3. Can a scammer fall in love with his victim?

These romance scams are typically run by syndicates that operate out of different cities in the world. Often, multiple people ‘handle the account’ of a potential victim. For them, it’s a business and their approach is absolutely clinical. The chances that a scammer falls in love with his or her victim are next to none.

4. What can a scammer do with my picture?

A scammer can use your pictures to create a realistic profile for themselves to scam someone else. As identity thieves they can use your picture to create fake ids, bank accounts, buy phone cards and numbers. They can assume your identity to take over your personal financial accounts. Needless to say, private pictures are the most obvious tools used for blackmailing.

What Is Financial Infidelity And How To Recognize It

11 Signs Your Husband Uses You Financially

How I Went From An Ordinary Life To Being A Sugar Baby

Ask Our Expert