The Rise of Dating Scams
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How Are Romance Scams Delivered?
Millions of people use social networking sites or dating applications to meet someone.
However, many people discover a scammer instead of romance who is attempting to con them into giving money. Romance fraudsters pose as potential partners on dating websites and mobile applications, or they get in touch with their victims through well-known social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Google Hangouts. In order to gain their trust, the con artists develop relationships with their victims, sometimes communicating with them many times every day. They then fabricate a tale in order to demand payment. Dating Scam Rising is a major issue faced by people these days. Keep reading to be aware of how to save yourself from getting scammed.
The Rise of Romance Scams
You may believe that you are fairly tech-savvy online.
However, fraud is possible every time you use a social media app. According to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report released in January, nearly 25% of fraud cases involving consumer money from the previous year were started on social media. In one year, social media fraud cost businesses $770 million, and the Romance Scams Hit Record Highs.
The FTC went so far as to claim in its research that scammers made more money via social media than any other technique last year. And it’s a pattern that’s accelerating dangerously: Only 5,000 consumer complaints of fraud that started on social media were made in 2017. They filed 95,000 in 2021. With WhatsApp and Telegram users also reporting encountering a good number of scammers, Instagram and Facebook were the most frequently mentioned platforms when contact with a scammer first occurred.
Additionally, scam victims might not belong to the group you would assume. All age groups experienced a rise in social media fraud, according to the FTC, but those between the ages of 18 and 39 were more likely than older ones to report falling victim to one.
It makes sense that older folks would be more vulnerable to scammers. However, many younger individuals feel more at ease disclosing personal information online, such as their location, job, interests, and hobbies, which can make them more vulnerable to scammers.
Romance Scam Red Flags
• Your new love interest sends you a photo that resembles a model from a fashion magazine more so than a commonplace selfie.
• They are eager to get off the dating website and get in touch with you via email or instant chat.
• He or she shows you a lot of love. To entice potential victims, con artists frequently bombard them with messages, emails, and phone calls.
• He or she keeps promising to see you in person but always seems to find a reason to back out.
DO YOU SUSPECT THAT SOMEONE HAD SCAMMED YOU?
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How to Protect Yourself from Romance Scammers
Always be wary of new acquaintances and friend requests.
Before accepting a friend request or answering a message, get to know new contacts. Has this person’s profile been around for a while, with contact information and other information you can confirm?
Keep in mind that con artists can easily pass for anyone. To check if your new contact’s profile photo has already been used elsewhere else, Sarah Rutherford, senior director of portfolio marketing, worldwide fraud, and compliance at FICO, advises conducting an image search on it. You’re undoubtedly messaging a scammer if you see the same photo associated with multiple distinct names.
Don't Divulge Financial Information
If someone you haven’t met asks you for money or presents, the FTC advises ending communication right away.
Even while you presumably already know not to give out your Social Security number or credit card information, keep in mind that scammers can still obtain a wealth of other information to use against you. Rutherford cautions that financial details may include whether you rent or own your home, your savings balance and whether you engage in pricey hobbies.
Be Wary of Unwarranted Compliments
Be cautious of anyone who immediately declares their love for you after you start speaking or who “love bombs” you. Rutherford notes that while ignoring this kind of attention may be challenging, you should take a moment to assess whether your online friend’s concerns are valid.
Do's and Don'ts in Dating
• Proceed cautiously. Ask a lot of questions of your potential companion, and keep an eye out for any contradictions that might point to fraud.
• Use Google’s “search by image” option to verify the image. The image may have been stolen by a scammer if it appears elsewhere with a different identity linked to it.
• Be weary of communications that are too flirty and nice. Try pasting the content into a search engine to see if the identical words turn up on romance fraud-exposing websites.
• If you start to worry that someone might be a fraudster, break off communication right away.
• Do alert the creator of the dating app or the dating site where you first met the con artist.
• Just because you initiated contact doesn’t mean you should feel safe. Fake profiles are scattered throughout dating websites as scammers wait for victims to contact them.
• Don’t provide someone you’ve just spoken to online or in a dating profile with too much personal information. Scammers can use information about you, such as your last name or your workplace, to trick you or steal your identity.
• Never send an online acquaintance a private image that could be used as leverage in extortion.
• You won’t receive your money back if you send cash or load a reloadable gift card for someone you’ve just spoken to online.
What to Do If You Spot a Scam
Report the new person who has entered your direct messages to the FTC if you think they are a fraudster.
The agency can research fraud methods and disseminate information about new scam types with the use of information about the con artist and their procedures.
File a report with the FTC if you sent money to someone who turned out to be a fraudster, but bear in mind that the organization doesn’t look into specific situations. Even though you might not have a great chance of getting your money back, you should report the theft to the police and get in touch with the bank, credit card provider, or gift card vendor you used to send the money.
The majority of social media networks offer ways for users to report such scammers. As an example, Instagram lets you view official emails from the service over the last two weeks so you can confirm a message you received that purported to be from Instagram. They may also include advice for keeping your account secure.
Although not every user on social media is a scammer, keep in mind that dishonest people are cunning, and anyone can be duped. When in doubt, seek a second opinion from a reliable source regarding any strange incoming messages. Red flags that are simple to overlook in the heat of the moment can be helped by them.
What You Can Do If You've Been Scammed
Additionally, you must be aware that internet dating requires caution.
Although not everyone is the same, the fact is that the number of internet frauds has grown over time. Therefore, it is best to be safe than sorry. Avoid becoming very emotionally involved with anyone you meet online, and be alert for any warning signs. Recognize if anything doesn’t add up. Keep in mind that online dating requires a lot of attention since you want to be secure from the scammers who are trying to rob you.
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