Have you used online dating in an attempt to find true love? If so, you aren’t alone. According to Pew research studies, about thirty percent of Americans have used online dating to find compatible partners since the days of the first dating sites. That’s a lot of people wanting love, but also a lot of people who are potential victims of scammers taking advantage of the desire to find love at last. Romance scams are one of the darker sides to online dating. Scammers create profiles on popular online dating sites using stolen photos and personal information.
Online Scams, Fraud and Phishing
Many Americans are turning to the internet in order to search for love. Online dating and dating apps are the new wave of the future for both younger generations and older generations alike. And sadly the surge in online dating has also created a potential for scammers to target people looking for love. When using dating apps, it is extremely easy to create fake identities using stolen images that a scammer can hide behind.
This scam can affect men and women of all ages because the scammer attempts to connect with their victims in a more personal way. Common scams these thieves use to exploit victims include asking for money for a family member with medical bills, claiming to be the victim of a robbery, or needing funds in order to meet or visit their significant other.
Scammers don’t need your credit card to use it. Signs of a credit card scam: The scammer pretends to be a company you know, like a bank or an internet Make sure your computer’s antivirus software and operating system is up to date.
The online dating industry is big and profitable. Love is a big business. But for me, personally, online dating is no laughing matter. Every year, thousands of people are catfished online and it can take a toll — not just financially, but emotionally, too. As a public figure, my image and likeness have been used in a number of dating sites and social media platforms. He was even able to create a video image that looked like me and spoke with her on Skype numerous times.
She was convinced I was the man she fell in love with, which is really infuriating. Since Rachel is in the UK, and the show is filmed there too, the producers Skyped me the real me in so I could meet her, reassure her, and offer her consolation and support after this harrowing experience.
70+ common online scams used by cyber criminals and fraudsters
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.
Protect yourself from credit card fraud online by also doing the keep your computer firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware systems up to date.
You can report scams to the federal government. Your report may keep others from being a victim of a scam. Government agencies use reports of scams to track scam patterns. They may even take legal action against a company or industry based on the reports. Do not use the agency contact information included in scam messages. Use contact information in the federal agency directory to report other government imposters. Find more information on identifying and reporting coronavirus scams.
The FTC accepts complaints about most scams, including these popular ones:. The FTC also collects reports of identity theft.
6 red flags for online dating scams
Fraudsters may conduct phishing through e-mail referred to as Spoofing , telephone calls referred to as vishing , or through text message referred to as SMiShing while appearing to be a legitimate and trusted company or person. Tips to protect yourself: Be cautious of unexpected emails, telephone calls or text messages. NEVER provide personal or financial information in response to any such communication. Don’t click on links in unsolicited e-mails and texts.
Romance scams: In this particularly hurtful scam, which usually happens through online dating sites, fraudsters pretend to be their target’s love.
Most of the defendants are Nigerians, the Associated Press reported. Attorney Nick Hanna told a news conference. Army captain in his efforts to smuggle himself and his friends out of Syria. The woman met him online and had been emailing for 10 months. There was no such army captain. Romance-related scams are now the most costly form of online fraud, the Federal Trade Commission warned earlier this year. In many of these scenarios, people are convinced by strangers they meet online — often on dating apps — to fork over money.
The number of romance scams reported to the FTC increased to more than 21, in , up from 8, in In a typical scenario, a victim meets someone through a dating website or other online space. Case in point: A woman came across a man on dating app Tinder claiming to be a U. Army captain and quickly fell for him. He had promised to take care of her and her children, according to a report from Gizmodo , if he could just have money to get home. After that, he blackmailed her with nude photos for more money.
As more Americans turn to dating apps for romance, the risk of being swindled by fake accounts has also grown.
Has an online love interest asked you for money?
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.
There’s Plenty of Fish in the Sea Including scammers: The Dangers of Online Dating Scams Many Americans are turning to the internet in order to search for.
Many people have been finding love online, but others have not been so fortunate. In fact, romance scams actually cost Americans more money than any other kind of internet fraud. You may think this could never happen to you but young and old alike have been victims of a “sweetheart scammer”—a criminal who preys on lonely hearts to steal their personal information and swindle them financially.
A romance scam typically works like this: The criminal will set up an account on a dating site with fake information and photos, which of course are of someone who looks inviting, trusting, and attractive. The profile seems too good to be true actually. They reach out to several candidates and try to start an online relationship. Once the target reciprocates and trust has been established, the scam usually escalates to the thief’s unveiling of a problem involving money.
Typical scenarios include the request for funds to be able to travel to meet you in-person or to help the thieve’s sick relative. Unfortunately, seniors are the primary targets for romance scams , since they often spend more time alone as they age. Even though Valentine’s season is one of the key times to be on high alert for possible sweetheart scams, it’s important to realize this is a year-round issue.
The Identity Theft Resource Center ITRC confirms that they receive calls from people who have been swindled by sweetheart scammers throughout the year. These scams are a double whammy for the victim because they are affected both fiscally and emotionally. It’s important to remember to always make financial decisions with your head and not your heart.
5 Ways to spot an online-dating scammer
We, humans, can become an easy target for malicious actors who want to steal our most valuable personal data. Criminal minds can reach these days further than before, into our private lives, our homes and work offices. And there is little we can do about it. Source: Federal Trade Commision. For this reason, we need to know what are the most popular techniques malicious actors are using to get unauthorized access to our private information and financial data.
Use the links below to quickly navigate the list of online scams you need to stay away from right now.
Online Dating Scammers Will Steal Your Heart — and Your Cash those using stolen credit-card numbers and any with “red-flag language” in.
The internet is the most widely used communication network ever constructed. There are good and bad things happening on the internet, and among the bad things are ongoing attempts to scam innocent people out of their money or identities. The internet brings with it many such opportunities, and fraudsters appear to be waiting around every virtual corner with the latest in online scams. While some forms of internet fraud have gotten very sophisticated, even some of the older, less advanced plays still actually work.
If people know more about the types of scams taking place and what to look out for, we can hopefully save at least some people from getting swindled out their hard-earned cash. Related: Cybercrime stats and facts. Email scams are a type of online fraud. The broad strokes tend to remain the same, but the details of these types of online fraud change over time.
There are resources to keep on top of the ever changing scams, and steps to take to defend against them.