Famous eharmony Scams

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We know that online dating apps have changed the way people connect and find love, and 90 percent of the time, it’s a safe and convenient way to meet potential romantic partners. 

But the other 10 percent, although seemingly small in comparison, can be detrimental to people—both emotionally and financially. It can be devastating enough to have your heart broken by a scammer or catfish, but add in your bank account being targeted, and it’s a whole other ball game. 

And it doesn’t only happen on shady or less reputable dating apps—it happens on the “safest” platforms, too. That’s why we want to give the 10 percent the attention it deserves. 

While eharmony has been a leader and one of the most successful dating apps, amidst the success stories, there are documented cases of scams that took place on their watch—although eharmony is not responsible for the actions of these scammers, users should be aware of these famous eharmony scams so they know what to look out for!


Famous, or Infamous, eharmony Scams

While some of the scams perpetrated on eharmony are gross in terms of manipulating people’s emotions, there are a few that were illegal and resulted in convictions and jail time. To that, we say GOOD.

scammer

Elvis Eghosa Ogiekpolor

Take the case of Elvis Eghosa Ogiekpolor, a Georgia man who was handed a 25-year sentence in federal prison. The sentencing followed his trial conviction on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering—some of which took place as romance scams on eharmony.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office, “Multiple romance fraud victims, mainly women, testified at trial. The victims recounted how they met male strangers online and were soon convinced they were in a romantic relationship with the men, even though the victims were in communication with the individuals for months without meeting in person. Often these men claimed they wanted to start a life with the victims and were eager to live with them as soon as some kind of issue was resolved.”

“For example, one romance fraud victim was convinced to wire $32,000 to one of the accounts Ogiekpolor controlled because her “boyfriend” (one of the men online) claimed a part of his oil rig needed to be replaced but that his bank account was frozen. This victim borrowed against her retirement and savings to provide the funds, which ultimately required her to refinance her home to pay back the loan. Another victim testified that she was convinced to send nearly $70,000 because the man she met on eharmony claimed to need money to promptly make payment on several invoices due to a frozen bank account. The 13 romance fraud victims who testified at trial represented just a small number of such victims who were defrauded into sending money to Ogiekpolor’s accounts.”

And in New Jersey, a married couple used eharmony and other dating apps to bilk unsuspecting people out of 6 million dollars.

partner scammers

Married Partners in Crime

In 2020, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the NJ District, “Martins Friday Inalegwu, 31, and Steincy Mathieu, 24, both of Maple Shade, New Jersey, are charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

“Between October 2016 and May 13, 2020, Inalegwu, Mathieu, and their conspirators, several of whom reside in Nigeria, allegedly participated in an online romance scheme, defrauding victims throughout the country. The conspirators made initial contact with victims through online dating and social media websites, corresponded with them via email and phone, and pretended to strike up a romantic relationship with them. They requested the victims send money to them or their associates for fictitious emergency needs.

For example, the conspirators duped victims into believing that they needed money for customs fees and taxes, medical expenses, travel expenses, or business expenses. The individuals whom the victims believed they were speaking to did not exist, and instead, they were speaking to the conspirators.

“Inalegwu, Mathieu and their conspirators also engaged in apartment rental scams with at least three of the victims. They advertised a property, not owned or controlled by them, for the purpose of collecting money from the victims in the form of application fees and security deposits. The conspirators listed advertisements online, enticed victims with information about the properties, pretended they were authorized to rent the properties, and then directed that the victims complete applications and send money to either Inalegwu, Mathieu or conspirators, in the form of down payments to reserve the properties. After Inalegwu, Mathieu and conspirators collected the money, the victims never heard from them again.”

online scammers

Serial Romance Grifter

Daylon Pierce, a romance predator from Arizona, is a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities in online dating. Known for his repeated deceptions, Pierce is currently serving a 15-year sentence in prison for defrauding 13 women of approximately $1.8 million. From 2013 to 2016, he used dating apps, one being eharmony, as his hunting ground for these romance scams.

One of his victims, a woman named Gina, told CNBC’s American Greed that she met Pierce on the dating app in 2015.

“He was someone I was attracted to,” she said. “He had a real long profile, and you’re like, yeah, yeah, sure, sure, you know, ‘walks on the beach’ kind of thing. But I did agree to meet him.

“Pierce had claimed to be an investment professional, and within days offered to help her maximize her $94,000 divorce settlement. Gina says she balked at first, but Pierce skillfully shamed her into turning over the money.”


legal

This one isn’t a romance scam, but it still received a lot of attention from the public, the law, and backlash from eharmony members.

Down under, eharmony faced accusations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for allegedly misleading consumers. The allegations, dating back to at least November 2019, include misleading representations about “free dating,” automatic subscription renewals, and the failure to disclose accurate prices. 

The ACCC asserts that eharmony’s practices stripped consumers of their ability to make informed choices about joining the dating app, an issue that highlights the importance of transparency in online dating services.


10 Most Common eharmony Scams

According to the safety website Social Catfish, here are the most common scams to watch out for on the eharmony dating app:

online scam
  • Catfishing: Creating fake profiles using someone else’s pics and info to reel in potential victims.
  • Romance Scams: Using emotional tactics to gain the trust of victims, and then asking for large sums of money or personal info.
  • Phishing: This scam uses emails or messages to trick victims into giving out sensitive info, like passwords or credit card numbers.
  • Travel Scams: Victims are persuaded to send money for travel expenses, such as a plane ticket, but afterward, the scammers vanish.
  • Investment Scams: Potential victims are offered an opportunity to invest in a fake scheme or business.
  • Medical Emergency Scams: Pretending to be a loved one or a friend in need of emergency medical attention.
  • Lottery Scams: These scams say the victim has won some sort of lottery or prize, but they have to send money to receive it.
  • Tech Support Scams: Impersonating tech support and convincing victims to give them permission to remote access a computer or buy software they don’t need.
  • Internet Access Scams: Victims are offered free internet access but then charged for it.
  • Military Scams: The scam here is they pretend to be in the military, asking for money or personal info, claiming that they are on deployment overseas and/or have had their purse or wallet stolen.

safety

Safety Tips for Online Dating

Given these concerns, users should always, always, use caution when talking to potential partners on eharmony—or on any other online dating platform!

  • Be wary of profiles with minimal or no details and who only give generic or nonsensical responses.
  • Avoid sharing too much personal info too soon.
  • Be super skeptical of unsolicited emails or links that claim to be from the eharmony dating app.

Takeaways

While we have no doubt that eharmony is a place that does way more good than harm, this is a reminder that there are devious people out there who will abuse dating platforms for their own gain—mostly financial, but always at the expense of someone looking for love.
So stay alert and hyper-vigilant when using eharmony or any other dating apps—we don’t want you to become a victim of a grimy romance scammer!

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