I frequently get requests from friends and readers to help them save a loved one from a romance scam. Lots of money. The closer the date appears to be getting to the victim, the more unexpected calamities appear. The scammers seem to delight in torturing their victims and seeing just how outrageous they can make the stories be and still get paid. Many victims lose substantial sums of money, often their entire lifesavings. Some wealthy victims have lost millions of dollars. Many willingly go spending into the poor house selling off every available asset, convinced that their online lover needs just a bit more money to make all their dreams come true.
Safe Online Dating
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.
Most dating websites—even ones that cost money—don’t vet the people who sign up. So it’s up to you to determine how truthful a person is being.
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.
HELP YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY DATE SAFELY ONLINE
More and more people are looking for love online. A large chunk are those age 50 to 64 , and dating services aimed at baby boomers are expected to grow the most over the next five years. The lesson: Meeting people online comes with risks.
Earlier this year, 10 people located around the United States were arrested and charged in an organized money laundering scheme as they were attempting to wash the cash that they illegally obtained. What was strange about the scheme is how the money was obtained in the first place. It wasn’t through the trading or trafficking of illegal goods or drugs, but rather cash that was sent by unsuspecting women who thought they were building relationships with the scammers.
This type of thing happens more often than you might think. These types of schemes are known as romance scams, and while there is no shortage of scams online, few are more devastating. That makes it all the more painful when the rug is pulled out from under them and the scammers make off with their income or savings.
5 Warning Signs that Your Online Romance is Really a Scam
Romance fraud happens when someone believes they have met their perfect match through an online dating site or app, but the other person is in fact a scammer using a fake profile to build the relationship. They slowly gain your trust with a view to eventually asking you for money or obtaining enough personal details to steal your identity. It plays on the need we all have for love and companionship and many people fall victim every year.
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. Often the scammer will say an emergency situation has arisen and money is needed fast to avoid dire consequences.
This makes it hard for the victim to do due diligence. The scammer might say that an immediate family member has a medical emergency and needs money for treatment, or that he has been wrongly arrested and needs help with bail money and legal support. Run a search. Copy the images your online correspondent has posted to his or her profile, then run them through a reverse-image search engine, such as TinEye or Google Images.
Signs of an Internet Online Dating Scam
Scammers know that millions of people use online dating sites now, so they create fake profiles to hide behind. Read on to find out more about the signs of online dating scams and how to avoid them. Millions of Americans are using dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people. Unfortunately, scammers use these sites as well to meet potential victims. By creating fake profiles, they build online relationships and eventually convince people to send money. Here are some of the most common signs of an online dating scam:.
They want to text or email instead of using.
If you see any of the red flags listed below, proceed with extreme caution and do some more investigation before parting with your money. If somebody you don’t know asks you to wire money through a company such as Western Union or MoneyGram, be careful. Also watch out for scammers posing as your friends or relatives. They may say they’re having a crisis and need you to wire money immediately.
They’ll usually ask you to do it without telling anyone else about it, as well. This is a major red flag. And senders have very little protection.
Anatomy of Online Dating Scams – How Not to Become a Victim of Cyber-romance
If you thought online dating websites are on the rise, than you would be right. However, not everyone who creates a profile on these sites has honorable intentions. Most dating scams start innocently enough.
–Read the online dating service’s contract. The Better Business Bureau received more than one-thousand complaints in Most of them were.
Romance is not completely dead, but the days of wining and dining a potential love interest have given way to kissy-face emojis, lurid emails and sexting. Register Now. Already have an account? Sign In Now. Executive Editor Elana Ashanti Jefferson is a veteran journalist and communications professional. More from this author. The 50 most profitable U. Top insurance workplaces for millennials in Gulf Coast braces for one-two punch from pair of storms.
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How to Avoid and Protect Yourself From Online Dating & Romance Scams
Online dating scams continue to rise, costing unsuspecting victims millions of dollars each year. Rather than simply sending phishing emails, cybercriminals are playing the long game to cheat people out of their money. If you are using an online dating platform, make sure to look out for these signs that the person you’re talking to is actually a scammerand how to avoid online dating scams in general.
Scammers target people across different demographics on every dating platform possible. This means that regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, or preferred platform; no one is off-bounds to a scammer.
4-signs-online-romance-scamjpg Don’t let the prospect of romance fraud dissuade you from checking out the online dating scene, but do.
The dating scene has transformed a lot in the past years. People mostly meet physically but this is all gradually changing with the rise of online dating. Many people are now meeting online and although this has somewhat simplified dating, it has opened doors for a whole new wave of romantic scams. Behind the mask of false online identities, scammers have taken advantage of online dating to lure people into romantic relationships for their own selfish motives.
This is termed as catfishing — a peculiar new scam where an internet predator creates a fake identity on a social networking platform, usually targeting a specific victim for abuse or fraud. Stella Atuhairwe, a social media enthusiast, says people who look for love online need to be alert because not everyone on these platforms has good intentions. Someone who conceals their identity is one to watch out for.
Net photo. She, therefore, warns that one has to be cautious if the person they are dating declines to reveal their true identity by restricting interaction only on online platforms, or prefers calls rather than video calls. Most people, especially women, enter relationships with an intention to commit and start families. So predators know this and use it as a trick to con them, she says.