A close-up of a computer keyboard, with the word 'SCAM' written on one key.
Many clients, especially inexperienced ones, worry about being scammed by sex workers.

"What should I do if I get scammed?"

Georgie Wolf
Georgie Wolf
What happens if I see an escort and have a negative experience – get catfished, robbed, treated badly, etc? How can I let others know? And how can I make sure this doesn’t happen in the first place?

You suggest researching an escort’s website and following them on Twitter but both those places are marketing controlled by the escort so you’re unlikely to find any useful disqualifying information. I understand this is largely paranoia and that sex workers are far more likely to be hurt by their clients than vice versa, but this is still something I worry about.

People have a lot of negative ideas about sex work.

When we see call girls and street-based workers in the movies, they always seem to be connected to drugs or crime. And when we read about sex workers in the paper, it’s often because they’re reporting a crime, or talking about our work in a way that makes it seem super shady. After all, drama sells, and nobody would buy the newspaper – or pay to see the movie – if escorts were shown to be happy, well-adjusted people, as most of us are in real life.

If all you’ve seen is the movies or the news, it’s easy to assume that the sex industry is full of drugs, crime, and misadventures. Plenty of clients – even after they’ve been seeing escorts for a while – still worry about getting scammed.

But, realistically, it’s unlikely. Sex work is just another type of business. And like any other service, you’re going to meet people with varying levels of experience and professionalism. It’s your job to decide whether someone is right for you before you commit your time and money. Once you do, you’ll generally find us to be just as friendly as any other service professional – provided you treat us with respect.

It sounds like you’re concerned about two things: how to avoid getting scammed, and what to do if you are. They’re different problems. So let’s tackle each one separately.

What to do if you get scammed by an escort

What happens if you feel you’ve been treated badly? In your question, you ask ‘How can I get the word out?’ – as though a bad review or going public might make you feel better or stop it from happening again in the future. But I’d generally recommend against it. Bad clients write nasty reviews and spread nasty rumors all the time, and your complaint is likely to look like just another angry, pushy client trying to get revenge because a worker said ‘no’ to them.

If you’ve lost a substantial sum of money...

...such as providing a deposit for a session that never happens, for example – you have the same legal avenues of complaint as for any other commercial transaction, providing you’re in a location where escorting is a legal profession. If your dispute is about a deposit, don’t forget to check out your escort’s deposit policy before you take the matter further – some of us have very strict no-refund policies, even in the case of cancellations, and you need to read the fine print before you assume you’ve been treated unfairly.

If you feel your escort doesn’t match their photos.

What happens if your escort arrives, but they look different to what you expected? Well, you can definitely refuse the session. But if the escort has already turned up to your hotel room (or you’ve turned up to theirs) then they’ll usually charge a cancellation fee. After all, your opinion on our looks is just an opinion, and we’re still entitled to be paid for our time.

If you're unhappy with the service you received.

In this case, there’s really only one option open to you: Put it down as a learning experience. You may never know what caused the booking to be disappointing – whether it was something you did or said, a lack of communication, or simply that your escort was having a bad day. Sex is unpredictable…that’s part of what makes it fun. It’s not about trying to tick every box; it’s about turning up and seeing what happens.

As you’ve probably realized by now, your options are somewhat limited when it comes to fixing a bad experience. For this reason, I recommend avoiding these situations in the first place. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do your homework and lower the risk of things going wrong. Here are some ideas for disaster-proofing your bookings.

How to avoid getting scammed in the first place

Okay, first things first! You need to know that, generally, escorts aren’t out to scam you.

Like any other type of business, we want to build good relationships with our clients, so that they keep coming back. We also worry about negative attention – we’re not interested in ripping you off, misrepresenting ourselves, or doing anything that would cause us trouble, either during or after a booking.

If you’re nervous about getting scammed, it could be worth taking a look at your perceptions of the sex industry in general, and whether they might need a bit of a reality check.

Once you've done that, here are some practical tips.

Don't assume everyone you meet online is a sex worker.

It’s conceivable that you might lose money to someone shady who says they’re a sex worker but isn’t. Scams like this can happen when you visit disreputable escort ad sites or start chatting to strangers on social media.

If you meet someone on the Internet who claims to be a worker and wants you to send them cash, it’s worth checking out their advertisements,  website and social media first to ensure they’re an established professional.

Things to look for:

  • How many advertising platforms do they appear on, if you search for their name?
  • Is their website professional and up-front about fees and services? (Keep in mind that not all workers can list services, depending on their location.)
  • Do they have an established social media account? Are they followed by other workers, and do they interact with them in a constructive way?
  • Do they offer contact details such as an email address and phone number?

As with any online transaction, it's your job to make sure everything looks legitimate before you make any payments.

Have realistic expectations when it comes to appearance

Lots of clients worry that they’ll book an escort, and a different person will turn up than the one they saw online. As long as you've booked an independent escort and not an agency escort, this scenario isn't likely.

However, I do caution you to have realistic expectations. Escorts look like everyday people – we’re not centerfold models. (And even centerfold models have curves, stretch marks, and wrinkles, same as you!)

When you check out an escort's professionally-shot photos online, it’s easy to get caught up in a fantasy of what they will look like. But those pics are advertising images, not real life. So make sure you look at your potential playmate’s selfies as well, if they’re available, and be realistic about what they’ll be like in person.

Talk first, to ensure you 'click' and avoid bad service.

Every client’s nightmare is spending time with a worker who puts you down or acts as though they don’t want to be there. How can you ensure you're treated well?

Like any other type of business, sex workers have varying levels of professionalism. How good a service you receive also has a lot to do with how respectful you are and how much effort you’ve made with your appearance and personal hygiene. Finally, sometimes two people simply don’t click, and that’s nobody’s fault.

Getting a bad service can feel disappointing, regardless of whether it’s something you’ve done or simply a bad client/provider fit. To avoid this situation, I always recommend meeting your escort for a social date or talking with them on the phone before you commit to a longer booking.

It might mean paying a bit extra – escorts deserve to be compensated for their time, even if it’s social. But by having a chat first, you can get a feel for whether you both connect.

Be specific about what you want, to avoid missing out

If you had a specific sexual activity in mind, you may feel let down when you turn up on the day and your escort says ‘no.’

This does happen, but it’s usually down to poor communication rather than deliberate deception. Sometimes clients aren’t clear about what they want when booking, or simply assume a certain service is included, and are disappointed when they find out it’s not on offer.

The best way to avoid this is to be clear about any services that are especially important to you when arranging the session. This will give your escort a chance to plan ahead or to let you know if they don’t offer that particular activity.

Georgie says: "Not everyone can ask ahead of time. If you're in a location where sex work is criminalised, you probably won't be able to bring up sex when you contact your worker. You'll simply have to hope for the best, and discuss things in person once you're comfortable with each other."

If you’ve both agreed on a particular type of play, you might also be turned down if you’re not properly prepared. This sometimes happens with kissing, where providers may offer it but decline if you haven’t brushed your teeth well. Services such as anal might be refused depending on the size of your member. Or, if you’ve booked a strap-on session but haven’t prepared your butthole properly, your escort might say ‘no’ – nobody likes getting vegemite stains on their sheets!

At the end of the day, sex is a messy, unpredictable business. It’s fine to ask for what you want – and asking well ahead of time is a great idea. But your escort always has the right to say ‘no’ to any activity, even one they’ve agreed to beforehand.

Safety and security are everyone's responsibility.

As you pointed out in your question, escorts usually have a lot more to fear from clients than vice versa. We worry about our physical safety, whether you'll respect our boundaries, and whether you'll be discreet. For this reason, it's essential to cooperate with your escort's screening, deposit, and reference requests.

But if you worry about your safety and privacy, that's understandable too. If you do your research first and make sure you trust the person you're spending time with, it's going to be a much more enjoyable experience.