Hello, young lovers! FBI warns of online dating scams
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. Scammers contact victims via social media sites or through email, claiming common interests or a distant, mutual connection—such as an introduction at a wedding or other large gathering. Other scam artists make their fake profiles look as appealing as possible and wait from victims to reach out and begin the conversation. Once a scammer has you hooked, the possibilities are limitless, but here are a few of the most common variations:. Fraudsters may use the name and likeness of actual soldier or create an entirely fake profile. They send out legitimate-seeming emails, introducing themselves as being near the end of their careers, often with older children and typically widowed under tragic circumstances. The emails are riddled with military jargon, titles and base locations, which sound impressive. In many cases, these scammers work with one or more accomplices who pose as doctors or lawyers to extract a steady stream of money.
Beware Dating Site Scammers and Their Ungrammatical Game
Be aware of the most prevalent and predatory fraud schemes being carried out on online dating sites.
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. The increase in online dating scammers, he says, has grown in step with the popularity of the sites and apps themselves. There was no dedicated screening service at that time, Winchester says. So he made one. Well, he did along with an acquaintance, Nick Tsinonis, who already had expertise using machine learning to help match dating site users based not on their expressed preference, but on behavior.
Some of those indicators are proprietary, but a few are fairly obvious. Fake photos are usually a giveaway; when in doubt, do a reverse Google image search. If it turns out to be a model, or really anyone other than who the profile says it is, that’s a scammer. Geographical mismatches are also bad signs, such as someone claiming to be in Brooklyn when their IP address points to the other side of the planet.
6 top tips to avoid online dating 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.
Online romance scams are a modern form of fraud that has spread in Western societies along with the.
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.
How to spot and avoid online dating scams
Does that online dating profile seem too good to be true? Are they avoiding meeting you in person? One in 5 people have either been asked for money or given money to someone they met online. A common tactic for scammers is to try to encourage victims to use other communication channels e. Become an amateur detective and search for their name, pictures and things they say e. You might not want to spill all your secrets but telling a trusted friend or family member can help.
As millions of people get hooked to online dating platforms, their proliferation has led to online romance scams becoming a modern form of.
Relationships can bring joy and love, but online dating and sweetheart scams can cause problems for romance seekers. Sweetheart scammers are con artists who prey on lonely people by pretending to fall in love with them in order to win their trust and steal their money. While sweetheart scams can happen face-to-face, they often take place online. Scammers frequently create fake identities on dating websites and social media like Match, SeniorPeopleMeet, ChristianMingle, and Facebook.
Some scammers create phony dating websites to get your credit card number and other private information. Online dating has helped many people find relationships, but not all online dating websites and users are legitimate. Dating websites come in various costs and approaches. Remember that dating services are businesses designed to make money, not matches. Experts discount claims that dating sites are scientifically proven to help you find the right partner.
Some online dating sites are working to become safer by running criminal background checks on prospective members, but precautions remain necessary. Although many victims of online dating and sweetheart scams are hesitant to come forward, we strongly encourage people to report these scams. Signs of a sweetheart scam: The recent death of a spouse or some other tragic event can attract sweetheart scammers.
The scammer will often claim to be a U. The scammer will ask to move the conversation to email or text message instead of communicating via the dating or social networking site.
Anatomy of Online Dating Scams – How Not to Become a Victim of Cyber-romance
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.
Anatomy of a romance scamExperts identify several distinct stages of the scam: Contacting victims: Romance scammers use dating websites, apps, Facebook, and.
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.
Other sinister cases can involve sexual predators or stalkers who use this online anonymity to get close to their victims. There are several truly bizarre examples out there, like the girl who was catfished twice by another girl who posed as two different men.
How to prove and fight online dating and romance scams
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.
working on an oil rig; in the military; a doctor with an international organization. Online dating scams.
Romance scams are different from other scams. They prey on lonely people looking to connect with someone, and can often take months to develop to the point where money changes hands. The emotional harm to the victim can be even more painful than the monetary loss. Because most people do not file complaints about romance scams with BBB or law enforcement, this may just be the tip of the iceberg. Contacting victims: Romance scammers use dating websites, apps, Facebook, and other social media.
Many use stolen credit cards to join the sites and post fake profiles. They meet victims, interact with them, and quickly try to get them to move to a different form of communication such as email or texting. This way, if the dating site identifies the scammer as being bogus and shuts them down, they are already in contact with their victims elsewhere. The scammers will often make fake Facebook pages for their aliases to help bolster their fake identity.