You date online, right? Here are some guidelines and warning signs to assist you to identify and steer clear of online dating scams.
Online dating scams are still on the rise and cost their gullible victims millions of dollars every year. Instead of only sending out phishing emails, cybercriminals are now employing increasingly complex techniques to scam individuals of their money.
When using an online dating site, be sure to keep an eye out for clues that the person you’re speaking to is a fraudster. Learn how to prevent online dating scams by reading on.
Who Do Scams on Dating Sites Target?
Scammers use all available dating platforms to target individuals in various demographic groups. This implies that no one is safe from scammers, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, or favored platform.
However, they frequently target older folks. People who are defenseless or lonely are the main targets of long-term catfishing schemes.
Due to the size of the network, Plenty of Fish (POF) frauds are particularly common. On the majority of other dating websites as well as Ashley Madison and Match.com, scammers do occur.
Netflix’s documentary from 2022 The Tinder Swindler also described the strategies of a common con artist who used Tinder to entice his victims.
With the popularity of dating apps, con artists can now reach a bigger audience and automate many tasks, utilizing bots to trick victims. It’s one of the causes of the failure of online dating.
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What to Look for in a Dating Scammer
Here is a list of key indicators of a scammer profile that you can use to confirm your suspicions if you think you may have come across an online dating scammer.
Profile Red Flags
Before you ever connect on the app or website, there are a number of telltale symptoms of a phony online dating profile that can help you spot a con artist.
A scammer’s profile frequently has the following characteristics:
- They don’t have many pictures on their accounts, or they look like stock shots of models or glamorous people.
- They reside or work abroad despite browsing for singles in your region.
- Many con artists present themselves as military personnel serving overseas.
Scammers and bots will have very little information about their profiles on dating apps. Additionally, they usually don’t connect their profile to their Instagram or other accounts and just have one or two photographs.
They Avoid Meet-Ups
They want to meet you, but when the time comes, there is always some unexpected obstacle, is a classic tactic used by online dating scams. Since the con artist is not who they claim to be, they do not wish to meet in person.
Another reason why so many con artists pose as foreign workers or military personnel on deployment is that it gives them a justification for not being able to meet up. In fact, a lot of scammers include images of troops and military members in their profiles.
A link to Another Service or Website is Sent to You
Some con artists choose to take advantage of victims in other, more effective ways rather than catfishing. This is especially true for dating apps on the internet, where bot profiles are common.
If a match sends you a link to a website, app, game, service, or other content that they claim they want you to try, it’s usually a hoax to trick you into downloading malware or providing personal information. Scammers frequently use it on dating applications like Tinder since it is essentially the online dating scam equivalent of phishing.
They Request Your Assistance in Financial Transactions
Another online dating scam uses its victims as “money mules” rather than asking them for money. These con artists turn you into a partner in money laundering rather than trying to extract money from the victim.
One illustration is when the victim receives money from the con artist who then sends them an Amazon gift card or another type of gift card in return. Sometimes they’ll send you money and ask you to transfer it to a different account on their behalf.
Scammers may occasionally request that a victim open a bank account on their behalf. It’s possible that your online suitor is a con artist attempting to trick you into engaging in illicit money transactions and exchanges if they ask you to participate in these kinds of financial transactions.
Early On, Your Match Professes Love
Scammers who use online dating scams frequently make emotional connections extremely rapidly. They might declare their love for you and their profound connection to you within a short period of time.
The emotional manipulation used in online dating scams includes all of this. Additionally, because they need a connection, the weak and lonely make such alluring prey. Be on the lookout for any matches that are overly positive and committed early in your contact, before you’ve even met.
One of the warning signs of the Tinder Swindler was the relationship moving very quickly.
They Completely Avoid Video Chat
Voice and video conversations, as well as phone calls, may be avoided by con artists. However, a lot of people might use a different voice or imitate someone else’s accent. However, a catfish won’t appear in a video chat since they use fake profile images. If your match never agrees to a video chat or is quick to mention that their camera is broken, be on the lookout.
Nowadays, the majority of smartphones come equipped with selfie cameras, which makes video chatting rather simple. Some people can initially feel uncomfortable and hesitant to participate in video chats. Yet if someone professes love yet refuses to allow you to speak to them on video after weeks of correspondence, that’s a warning sign.
They Attempt to Divert the Conversation
Online dating con artists, particularly those who catfish their victims, will persuade you to switch to a different type of chat on a website other than the one where you met.
This not only enables them to learn more about you but also to get over the security features that dating apps and websites offer.
The majority of the time, scammers prefer to message people on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram. They might, however, decide to contact you by SMS or a messaging service like WhatsApp. To ensure there is no record of your discussions forever, utilize a feature like WhatsApp’s disappearing messages.
Be wary of anyone who approaches you on a different platform to start a conversation with you if you haven’t met them.
It’s possible that they try to get money from a victim for the first time because they can’t meet you in person. They may claim that they need money to buy a ticket so they can meet you. They will occasionally claim that they were detained at the border and that they require money to be released.
They Ask You for Money
A catfish or fraudster will unavoidably ask you for money because this is their main objective. They may invent any number of situations, such as family troubles, health issues, or transportation issues.
Scammers who are really cunning may even send you a box that purports to require customs taxes in order to fool you into sending them money. Scammers don’t often operate alone, so you can get a call or some paperwork from someone asking for money while impersonating a third party.
Some con artists even ask for financial support or investments for their fictitious businesses. The clearest indication that you are being scammed is if your suitor makes any form of cash request.
However, They fail to Honor Their Commitment to Go
The goal of romance scammers is to remain anonymous. A promise to visit is one approach to prevent you from questioning their identity. They might even demand payment for your travel expenses, such as airline tickets. However, they’ll change their minds at the last minute and give a long explanation for why they can’t visit you after all.
How to Report An Online Dating Scam
After being defrauded, it could be extremely impossible to get your money back. However, documenting these events aids federal investigators in looking for patterns and could point them in the direction of offenders.
For these reasons, if you think you’ve been conned, follow these steps:
- If you send money to a romance scammer, get in touch with your bank immediately.
- Gather all of the information you can about your internet interactions, including the chats and transactions.
- Police report to be filed.
Please inform the following:
- The FTC
- The FBI.
- If the scam originated there, the dating website
How to Stay Safe When Dating Online
Protecting your privacy when dating online is among the most crucial precautions to take. This might shield you from creeps and online stalkers in addition to assisting you in avoiding online dating scams. Make sure not to divulge too much information, and don’t hesitate to trust your instincts if something seems odd.
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