Each year, thousands of American singles who are looking for love fall victim to online dating scams, leaving them with nothing but a shattered heart and an empty wallet.
While social media and online dating platforms have grown to be widely used for finding romance and friends, they have, regrettably, also become widely used by con artists known as romance scammers. In order to entice victims, develop personal connections, and finally demand money, these online dating scams build false profiles.
The Better Business Bureau reports that over the past five years, online romance scammers have defrauded people in the United States and Canada out of more than $1 billion. This kind of fraud frequently targets older people in particular, and the majority of victims don’t know they’ve been duped until it’s too late.
In this essay, we’ll describe typical online dating scams and provide advice on spotting potential scammers. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a dating scam, we also provide information on how to report the perpetrator.
Typical symptoms of a romance scammer
Scammers who target romantic relationships are skilled at persuasion and social engineering. Because the scammer is attempting to gain your confidence before taking advantage of you, many of the warning signals of a romance scammer are subtle and sneaky. Watch out for these four warning signs while getting to know someone online in order to avoid falling victim to online dating scams:
Romance con artists swiftly declare their love for you before even meeting you.
The first indication of online dating scams frequently appears when a romance scammer displays intense feelings in a little amount of time.
They could even claim to be in love with you, but that’s just a ruse to get you to divulge personal information and the solutions to the security questions you use to lock down your online accounts. Be cautious when giving up personal information to new love interests, and be dubious if they do it right away.
Scammers use romance to lure victims into paying for trips, medical expenses, or other urgent needs.
Be wary of anyone who approaches you for money, regardless of how bad their situation appears to be. When you chat with a potential new love interest online, and they tell you one of these stories, there’s a significant probability they’re online dating scams.
- “I need money to take care of a sick relative.”
- “I want to come to see you, but I need a quick loan.”
- “I want to establish a business, but I need some cash.”
- “I need money so that I can arrange for a loved one’s burial.”
- “I need some money because I’m a US service member serving abroad.”
Online con artists strive to entice you away from the dating site.
Scammers frequently persuade victims to abandon dating websites and continue the conversation via personal email or instant chat. This might not seem like a problem at first. Naturally, when you get to know someone, you’ll want to communicate with them outside the dating site. Proceed with extreme caution when someone asks for your phone number or email address. This makes accessing your personal information considerably simpler for them.
Create a secondary email account or use an instant messaging service that isn’t linked to personal data like your primary email address or phone number if you wish to speak with people outside the dating site.
Romance con artists always have plans to visit but then postpone them due to an “emergency.”
You should be highly cautious if an online love interest makes preparations to visit but constantly seems to cancel at the last minute due to a tragic occurrence, family conflict, or a company loss. They frequently cancel with a request for a short-term loan attached. Be wary of anyone who makes statements like, “I truly want to see you, but because of x, I’m unable to purchase a plane ticket at this time. I’ll pay you back if you purchase a ticket for me. All I want is to be with you.”
Tips for preventing online dating scams
You should have more luck avoiding online dating scams and maintaining more excellent general online safety if you learn how to spot someone trying to con you online. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises employing the following safety measures when meeting people on dating websites and social media:
Check twice and confirm. Perform a search online to verify the validity of the person’s name, photo, location, email address, and other facts.
Talk to someone you trust, and take it slow. Share your problem with a friend or member of your family, and decide together what to do next. A romantic con artist can attempt to distance you from your friends and family or put pressure on you to make rash decisions by yourself. Don’t allow a con man to pressure you into making a choice.
Don’t send cash. Never give cash, gift cards, wire transfers, or cash reload cards to an internet love interest. It won’t be returned to you.
Report any money you have previously sent. You should immediately contact your banking institution if you suspect you may have sent money to a fraudster.
How to report a dating scammer online
You should report your experience to the online dating or social media site you were using if you have any reason to believe that you or a loved one has been the victim of online dating scams. Additionally, you ought to complain to the FTC.
It might be empowering to know how to report a dating fraudster. When they alert authorities to fraud, victims frequently feel relieved. It can not only improve their situation personally, but it may also shield them from romance scammers in the future. Your financial institution will consult with you on the next measures you may take to safeguard yourself and your loved ones after you report potential fraud. After reading this post, you might also like to read oue blog on online dating tips for Seniors. Don’t ever forget your grandpa!