Hookup ID: The Online Dating Scam Men Just Can’t Resist
I bought a hookup ID. And I couldn’t believe what happened next.Let’s face it: most men cannot resist the prospect of hooking up with an attractive woman, especially single men on tinder and other dating apps. It’s in the male DNA. And that’s why the hookup ID, the most widespread online dating security ID scam, has become so successful: clever scammers are successfully exploiting the irresistible appeal of casual sex to men.
How irresistible? Thousands of men across the Internet are opening up their wallets and paying $30 or more for fake “hookup IDs”. With 60 million online dating users in the US alone, my best guess is the scammers are raking in seven figures.
In this post I dissect how this scam works, and what happened when I posed as a victim and bought a hookup ID. I documented the entire process with screenshots and will walk you through all of it. But first, a little more background on this scam.
How the Hookup ID Scam Works
If you’re a man using online dating apps there’s a very good chance you have been exposed to the scam. Maybe you even fell for it.
Update February 2020: Hundreds of men have written in and it’s clear that there are MANY versions of this scam. Dozens, if not hundreds. It goes by many different names, which we will get into further below. Just because it does not follow the below pattern does not mean you’re not being scammed.
I learned about this scam after encountering it myself, and decided to research it further. Eventually, I went ahead and put my credit card down and bought a hookup ID just to see what would happen (more on that later). The scam typically goes something like this:
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The Oldest and Most Widespread Romance Scam
The hookup ID romance scam has been around since 2016 and is still going strong today. How do I know it’s still going strong today? They are running expensive Google Pay-per-Click ads. Just run a search for “hookup ID” and you will see these ads everywhere. They look surprisingly legitimate.
Ads like these typically cost one dollar more every time you click on them and at scale that really adds up. If the scammers are spending thousands of dollars on these ads it means people are following through and actually putting their credit cards down. Otherwise the scammers would be losing money.
Sophisticated Scammers Based in Russia or China
The hookup ID scammers are quite advanced. Using bots enables them to run the scam at scale and they have penetrated dozens of dating apps. These dating apps are legitimate companies that absolutely do have security measures in place, but they continue to be defeated. After all these years they somehow have still not been caught and shut down. My best guess is they’re operating out of Russia, but it could also be China.
Brilliant (and Devastating) Marketing
These scammers are not just tech savvy engineering geeks writing code while holed up in a dark room. They’re really good at marketing, too. In addition to being all over the dating apps with bots, they’ve launched dozens of fake websites that are posing as legitimate sites specializing in online dating security, and promoting the hookup ID.
If you run a search for “hookup ID“ or “online dating security ID“ or “meetup ID” or “dating security ID” you will one way or another find your way back to the same scam.
Update February 2020: They’ve added new names for the scam, including casual dating id, betchakan clearance, Casual Hookup Clearance, casual verify, safe casual dating verification, security hookup id and safe meet scan.
These fake sites all endorse the hookup ID or a similar scam, including linking directly to the many websites that take your credit card. Even taking it a step further, they acknowledge that there are hookup ID scams and direct you to the only one that is “legitimate”.
The Dating Security Advisor, as seen advertised below, is one of the site you’re most likely to come across.
The Gaasha ID Scam
The Gaasha scam is truly next level. “GASHA” stands for Global Awareness About Sexual Abuse. Posing as a non-profit for abuse victims, they conveniently also offer a fake verification service. For $40 you can get a gaasha ID (don’t do this!).
So I Bought a Hookup ID
So what happens if you actually buy a hookup ID? Like I said, I went ahead and put down a credit card (well, a cash card, actually) as part of my research for this article. In exchange, I was supposed to get what appeared to be an actual ID card with my photo and a unique identification number added to it. It was even supposed to have a bar code!
I was hoping t my hookup ID would look like one of these beauties (apparently some scammers have better photoshop skills than others).
I landed on the below site after visiting the Dating Security Advisor website, a fake site owned by the scammers. With the prospect of hooking up with likes of that sultry model, who *wouldn’t* enter their email address? I went ahead a did so, but disappointingly nothing happened. They may just be using this site to collect email addresses. So I tried a different route: I went to the Hookup VIP website (another fake).
Above is the Hookup VIP website. I went ahead and followed the instructions despite the broken English, and plunked down $30 for a lifetime membership.
$30 Down the Drain
Here’s the receipt. A company named Amethyst Online Marketing Sales collected my money. Did I get my ID delivered within the next 48 hours as promised? Unfortunately no, it never came at all. I lost $30 so you don’t have to.
If It Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
Look, it’s extremely rare for any woman to want a hookup, let alone an unusually attractive one. Most have men throwing themselves at them which means they get the pick of the litter and don’t have to settle for a hookup.
Next time you match with someone who seems out of your league, think twice before clicking on any links she sends you and never, ever put down your credit card!
Easy to Fall for the Hookup ID Scam
When you’re lonely and single it’s easy to fall for the hookup ID scam, and that’s why these criminals have had so much success.
If you’re tempted to laugh at people who fall for this scam, think again. These scammers are extremely clever and exploit mens’ worst instincts, and it could probably happen to you, too.
So, rather than judge, try to empathize with these victims. Spread the word so that fewer online dating users fall for it!
How to Avoid Romance Scams
DateID’s free tool make it easy to bust romance scammers. To learn how, read our post on how to avoid romance scams. We will not ask for your credit card.
How long has the hookup ID been around?
The first hookup ID was reported all the way back in 2016, but it’s possible it has been around even longer. It’s amazing that people are still falling for this scam in 2020.
How many different versions of the scam are there?
This is unknown, but there are definitely dozens of versions, spanning multiple fake dating websites. I found four different websites ready to take my credit card. Most likely the hookup ID scam was first run successfully by one group of hackers and then it attracted many copycats. Known variations on the same scam are the dating security ID, meetup ID, swipe hookup, safety hookup clearance, secure hookup ID, online hookup ID and just hookup. Update February 2020: They've added new names for the scam, including casual dating id, betchakan clearance, Casual Hookup Clearance, casual verify, safe casual dating verification, security hookup id and safe meet scan.
Can I order a physical hookup ID card?
You can, but it definitely won’t ever arrive at your doorstep. The scam promises to send you an actual ID card with a barcode if you pay up. Presumably you could meet someone who would want to scan your card before hooking up with you. When you think this through it could not be more ridiculous, but men fall for it nonetheless! We at DateID have had more than one man call in and ask us to sell them a physical ID card.
Is the Dating Security Advisor website legit?
No, www.datingsecurityadvisor.com is a fake website owned by the scammers. They own dozens of web properties and even have videos. Additional examples include www.hookupvipid.com and www.hookupidpro.com. Anything you find on the Internet promoting them, including videos and Google ads, is illegitimate.
Are the Meetup ID, Dating Security ID, Hookup Safety ID and Dating Verification ID the same scam?
Yes, presumably in order to keep people from catching on, the scam goes by many names including the Meetup ID and Dating Security ID.
What is the difference between DateID and the scam IDs?
DateID is the one and only legitimate website for verifying that your online date is representing themselves accurately. Everything else is a scam. Our identity verification software uses bank grade security to make sure everything and everyone is legit. We don’t send you a physical card – you get an online profile instead.
Should I sign up for DateID?
Depends. You should sign up if 1) You're a legit online dating user and are looking to show other users you're legit and/or 2) You want to background check your dates to make sure THEY are legit. You should NOT sign up for DateID if someone is asking you for any form of dating verification besides DateID. Why? Because DateID is the only legitimate dating verification platform. Everything else is a scam.