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The FBI is advising consumers to be wary when using online dating sites after the agency saw a 70 percent annual increase in reported romance scams. Cybercriminals are reportedly using online dating sites to trick victims into sending money, providing personal and financial information, or even unknowingly acting as a money mule by relaying stolen funds. Learn these tips for keeping yourself—and your financial accounts—better protected when meeting people online. Romance scams, also called confidence scams, are when a bad actor deceives a victim into believing they have a trusted relationship and then uses the relationship to persuade the victim to give money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the perpetrator. The initial grooming phase can last for days, weeks, or even months , and by that time, the victim may be extremely vulnerable to the scam. Techniques of romance scammers are varied and may include:. However, elderly people, women, and those who have lost a spouse are often targeted. Fraudsters have used dating sites to find and target victims for some time, but there is a new twist on romance scams that involves international criminal networks using dating sites to recruit money mules. The victim is then asked to receive and send money from that account. These bank accounts, the FBI says, may be used to facilitate criminal activities.
Safe Online Dating
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.
Ken Duffy KenDuffyNews. More people are turning to online dating for a semblance of companionship during the coronavirus crisis — sites often rife with sophisticated scams targeting Americans from overseas, the FBI warns. Singles might be using online dating sites like Match. But while it might be a nice way to have human contact online, it may leave people more vulnerable to scammers who want to drain bank accounts.
It might be a fake story about the inability to pay bills or a death in the family. In one recent D. The suspect, from Nigeria, traveled to Atlanta in December, when he was arrested on a series of charges, including money laundering. Luebke said the prime suspect is currently being held in D. Luebke said the female suspect never produced the briefcase and made an excuse about why.
Luebke said the crime usually starts with the crook trying to lure users into other private forms of communication.
How to prove and fight online dating and romance scams
Online dating works. There are millions of singles online in the UK, seeking what we all look for: love, companionship and a long-term future. I met my gorgeous husband through online dating, and during the ten years I worked for Match. Figures published by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau show a scary upward swing:. It was thought that women were the main targets for online-dating scammers. But men are increasingly duped.
Scammers often approach their victims on legitimate dating websites the ‘relationship’ away from the safeguards that these sites put in place.
Recently, I heard yet another story of a woman connecting with a scammer on a legitimate dating site. These men are con artists who will find a way to touch your heart and your pocketbook without a second thought. But, there are certain clues you need to be aware of that will tip you off to potential scammers. Scammers feed off specific clues you put in your profile. Be aware of sounding needy and lonely in your profile.
It makes you perfect prey for scammers looking to hook you into their scams. He might tell you that he lives in a metropolitan city in the U. Most of these men live in poorer countries around the world where jobs that pay well are scarce. He knows this and uses it to his advantage to hook you. His picture online is usually drop dead gorgeous in a romantic sort of way.
Look closely at those pictures. They are often shots found on the internet of handsome models in ads selling items like hats or sunglasses. Or he might be standing in front of an unusual looking building or an expensive car.
Tell-tale signs your online date may be an online fraud
Based on the number of victims, this type of fraud was the seventh most commonly reported scam last year. Money-wise, it was the second costliest scam in terms of losses reported by those victims. There are scads of similar stories.
But they are an increasingly important front for criminals, who in turn use increasingly sophisticated methods to snare their marks, and take them for whatever they can. A recently released list, by a fraud-busting company called Scamalytics, of the top lines and photos used in profiles by online dating grifters shows that while the range of sophistication may vary, the end goal is always the same: To fleece romance-seekers out of their money.
The pick-up line “I am not interested in games or drama” cracks the top 20, which sounds legitimate enough, but so does “having past events shape your life is one thing carrying the past as a burden that sits heavily upon your shoulders is not the way i view life. There are millions of scam online dating accounts created each month, says Scamalytics co-founder Dan Winchester. His company, which he founded in , detects up to , per month, and was born out of a healthy combination of necessity and self-interest.
He himself runs a dating site in the UK.
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.
Online dating sites offer a convenient match-making service. Unfortunately, fraudsters use these platforms to scam people at their most vulnerable.
Sure, you can find love online. You could also find yourself falling for a clever con artist who will gain your trust and rob you blind. It happens all too often. For the past two years, more money has been lost to romance scams than any other type of scam reported to the FTC. Romance scammers post their fake profiles on popular dating websites and apps. They also target people through direct messaging on social media sites.
6 red flags for online dating scams
Navigating the world of Internet dating can be an exciting and fun way to meet potential partners. However, you might quickly discover that some things are not what they seem on certain sites and profiles. Though it is one of the fastest-growing ways for singles to meet each other and form lasting relationships, there are definitely those who use the sites for dishonest purposes.
These red flags may refer to clues that the person on the other end of a profile might be untrustworthy, or that the website itself might not be truthful about its intended purpose. All dating websites will ask for a certain amount of information in order to match you successfully with people who will hold your interest. However, this information will generally be limited to personality details and interests rather than financial information or anything that might be useful to someone wishing to steal your identity.
Con artists are present on most dating and social media sites. The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear himself to the.
File a Consumer Complaint. Romance scammers prey upon feelings, resulting in some of the biggest scam losses — often in the thousands of dollars per victim. Scammers use profiles not only on dating sites but also other social media websites to reach out where you might not be expecting. They use many methods to try to gain your trust. They may talk to you many times a day, making you feel like you really know them. They may tell you they love you very quickly. Then, it will happen — they will need money for something urgent.
It may be a medical expense, a debt or legal fees, or even fees to travel to meet you. Usually, a scammer will ask you to pay via wire or different types of gift card. If you suspect you may be talking to a romance scammer, stop communicating with them! Try talking to someone you trust about your suspicions.