Certain dating apps allow you to choose to match only with verified profiles. For example, Tinder offers a background check feature. There are a number of signs of a fake online dating profile that could help you identify a scammer before you even connect on the app or website. Special Agent Jule Albretsen shares tips on how to avoid romance scams when dating online.
Of course, before the “big ask,” scammers will make small requests to gauge whether you’re likely to be susceptible to the con when an “emergency” inevitably crops up. Here’s how to protect yourself—and what to do if you fall prey to the fraud. Intimate pictures and videos can come back to bite you later in two ways.
After building trust, the criminal then pressures the victim to buy cryptocurrency assets and deposit them into a legitimate-looking crypto-trading app that’s controlled by the scammer. Very few scammers will be prepared to get on video with you. They will make all sorts of excuses for why they can’t, but take those excuses with a grain of salt. Not being able to get access to a webcam in this day and age is suspect—especially for educated professionals—no matter where they’re working. Always consider the possibility you’re being scammed from the start of every new online relationship.
The numbers have skyrocketed in recent years, and 2021 was no exception – reported losses hit a record $547 million for the year. That’s more than six times the reported losses in 2017 and a nearly 80% increase compared to 2020. The median individual reported loss in 2021 was $2,400.
Online scams range from classics — like the Nigerian Prince offering millions if you help him get money out of the country — to the advanced. Here are some of the most common online scams to beware of. It’s not always easy to know if who you’re dealing with online is really who they say they are.
Online romance scammers have taken to ‘pig butchering’ their victims
At best, you’ll only waste your time and a bit of money on these sites. However, some fake dating sites are loaded full of malware, which can infect your devices. Scammers will often ask for money or gifts to further your relationship. For example, they need money for a new laptop so you can video chat with them or they want you to send gifts that “prove” your love. Throughout the “relationship,” they’ll always find ways to get out of visiting you in person or even appearing on video chat. They might provide you with their phone number, but they will never be available when you call .
How to prove and fight online dating and romance scams
This is your sign that they are probably shady, both inside and out. But if someone uses the “L” word ASAP, warning bells should be sounding. It’s important to take things slowly, especially if you’ve never laid eyes on the person in real life. Bank transfers and payments sent in connection with romance scams accounted for nearly $31 million in hookupranking.org/ 2020, with older adults accounting for about a third of the dollars lost. Romance scammers reportedly took an additional $12 million total in cryptocurrency from older adults. Key to most romance scams is that the victim and the date have never met in person, or if they did, they didn’t look anything like the beautiful person in the photograph.
Any time someone asks you to transfer money by wire, watch out. Wire transfers are untraceable, and once they pick up the money on the other end, it’s gone. Never take action requested through an email or text message.
Meet for the first time in a populated, public location — never in a private or remote location. Avoid clicking on links or downloads in user bios or messages sent to you which seem unconnected to the conversation you’re having. The scammer asks you a lot of questions about yourself. The person quickly wants to leave the dating website and communicate with you through email or instant messaging. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a FREE second membership, and a subscription toAARP The Magazine. These are the best matches based on the address you entered.
You probably have heard stories about first dates ending before they even began because the other person wanted to meet somewhere completely inappropriate. First dates with someone online should at least begin in a public place. Someone who insists on meeting at his or her home or someplace secluded doesn’t have very much respect for your safety and security, even if they don’t mean you any harm.
If you think you’ve opened a spam email or engaged with another phishing attack, check your online accounts for warning signs of identity theft. The easiest way to avoid being scammed with a fake online date is to never send money, gifts, or sensitive information until you meet in person. They won’t go on video chat with you — A fake online dating account will only message you. If you make plans to video chat, they’ll always have an excuse to fall back on (i.e., they can’t make it or their webcam is broken). Try to be personal but something is off — Online scammers will pretend to be a friend or family member to quickly gain your trust.
Many of these romance scams originate in west Africa, predominantly Nigeria and Ghana. Criminal organizations use legitimate dating apps to defraud people who are looking for love. The scammers strategically target recently widowed or divorced seniors due to their vulnerabilities and access to cash. Each time the fraudster walked him through moving the money and “investing” it, and the screen appeared to show him making money and being free to transfer it back to Binance. If you find you are a victim of a military dating scam, you should report the crime.
Most dating scams are perpetuated by foreigners because of the difficulty for victims in pursuing legal solutions when the scam is discovered across international boundaries. A slightly different proposition to regular scam websites, scam dating sites are dating services that claim to offer legitimate meetups but are either severely underpopulated or awash with scammers. A popular scam involves sites that ask you to create a profile specifically to mine your information. One way to steer clear of these criminals altogether is to stick to online dating websites with nationally known reputations.
Today we are going to go over the top online dating scams, so you know what to look for and add a few ways that can be put to use if you suspect you may be at risk of becoming a victim yourself. If you are concerned that you or a loved one has fallen victim to an online dating scam, you should report your experience to whichever online dating or social media site you were on. Even if you accidentally give up details to a romance scammer, you can take preventative measures to protect your accounts. Use secure passwords, a password manager, and 2FA on all your accounts.