How to Avoid a Romance Scam When Using Online Dating Sites
The growth of online dating has led to an explosion of catfishing and the combination of lust, infatuation or love means that innocent people can get manipulated or exploited. These relationships can go on for years and often end in tragic emotional or financial consequences for the victims. Catfishers can be driven by anything from loneliness to obsession or revenge. They can be motivated by the desire to live vicariously through a fake persona, to extort money from a victim, to make mischief or any number of other intentions. Other sinister cases can involve sexual predators or stalkers who use this online anonymity to get close to their victims. There are several truly bizarre examples out there, like the girl who was catfished twice by another girl who posed as two different men.
Looking for love online? Romance scammers steal your heart to steal your money
Sign up for scam alerts. The majority of accounts on dating websites are genuine people looking for romance, but you need to be careful of criminals who use convincing fake profiles and are not who they say they are. They will build what feels like a genuine loving relationship to gain your trust. Once they have achieved this, they will create fake stories of problems they are experiencing to convince you to send them money.
By now you trust them, so you offer to help.
AARP Rewards is here to make your next steps easy, rewarding and fun! Learn more. A Pew Research Center study revealed that nearly 60 percent of U. But seeking romantic bliss online can have a major downside: Cyberspace is full of scammers eager to take advantage of lonely hearts. The con works something like this: You post a dating profile and up pops a promising match — good-looking, smart, funny and personable. This potential mate claims to live in another part of the country or to be abroad for business or a military deployment.
But he or she seems smitten and eager to get to know you better, and suggests you move your relationship to a private channel like email or a chat app. Over weeks or months you feel yourself growing closer. You make plans to meet in person, but for your new love something always comes up. Then you get an urgent request.
Online Romance: How to Protect Yourself Against Online Dating Scams
That may come as no surprise since tens of millions of U. In fact, the Identity Theft Resource Center, which I lead, has received calls from victims of online dating scams. In one instance, a male victim met someone through an online dating service. Here are two of the highest profile scams that have directly affected online dating participants:. Horror stories about romance scammers who use sweet talk to steal money from their victims are all too common. Many of these scams are rampant on social media platforms, not just dating sites.
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A failed relationship could give you a broken heart, but it shouldn’t leave you out of pocket. Scammers are drawn to dating sites because they know that the people on there are looking to make a personal connection, and they can use this to their advantage. The catfishing from the original documentary started on Facebook , but you can also be catfished on dating apps like Tinder, in chatrooms or even through fake video chats on Skype.
If you come across a fake profile you should report it to the dating site or social network wherever possible. Where catfishing can become illegal is if the scammer uses the fake profile to trick you into sending them money. This is fraud, and it is against the law. A common tactic of dating scammers is to ask you to talk on email, text or Whatsapp, in case the dating site or app gets wise to their scam.
Scam victims frequently report being asked to send money internationally to pay for an alleged visa, only never to hear from them again.
Tell-tale signs your online date may be an online fraud
Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. How this scam works Warning signs Protect yourself Have you been scammed? More information. Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction.
Online dating site Bumble, owned by MagicLabs, is valued at $3 billion and to everyone who has been scammed because it’s more common than we think. According to the Federal Trade Commission, online dating scams.
Thanks to online dating scams, each year thousands of Americans who are searching for love end up with nothing but a broken heart and an empty wallet. While online dating and social media sites have become increasingly popular tools to find love and friendship, they’ve unfortunately also become popular tools for fraudsters known as romance scammers. These con artists create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money.
According to the Better Business Bureau, victims in the U. Older users, in particular, are more often targeted by this type of scam — and most don’t realize they are a victim until it is too late. We also have information about how to report a dating scammer if you or someone you love has fallen victim to one. Romance scammers are experts in social manipulation and can sound very convincing.
Many of the signs of a romance scammer are subtle and insidious because the scammer is trying to build trust before they exploit you.
Romance Fraud (Or Online Dating Scams)
Does that online dating profile seem too good to be true? Are they avoiding meeting you in person? One in 5 people have either been asked for money or given money to someone they met online. A common tactic for scammers is to try to encourage victims to use other communication channels e. Become an amateur detective and search for their name, pictures and things they say e.
Feb 16, – Check out these examples of online dating scammers scripts so you know how to spot one.
As online dating has become more common, there has also been an increase in scams targeting users of online dating sites. A romance scam is a trick where someone pretends to have romantic feelings for a victim, gains their trust, and then uses that relationship to commit fraud. Usually, the crook misleads a victim online and then talks the victim into sending money, sharing personal and financial information, or laundering money for the crook.
Although the victims tend to be older widowed or divorced women, the scam can happen to anyone who uses social media and dating sites. The FBI lists the following as common warning signs for anyone active on social media and dating apps:. The FTC explains that romance scammers are hard at work wooing people on dating apps and social media. They may lift photos to create an attractive profile or even steal the identity of a real person. Remember that romance fraud relies on manipulation and a willing participant.
Security awareness is our best defense for any kind of social media attack.
How to Spot the Signs of a Romance Scammer and Report Online Dating Scams
We respect your privacy. All email addresses you provide will be used just for sending this story. Just over a year ago, the Department of Justice announced that seven men—six from Nigeria and one from South Africa—had pleaded guilty to conning tens of millions of dollars from Americans via online dating sites. According to the FBI, romance scams and similar confidence scams cost consumers more money than any other kind of Internet fraud.
The FBI says it may be embarrassing for victims to report this type of fraud scheme because of the personal relationships that are developed, so the real numbers are probably higher. As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about. Eventually a pitch for money comes.