6 Ways to Spot an Online Dating Scammer – Beware of Dating Scammers – What You Need to Know About Romance Scams and Dating App Scams
Signs of a romance scammer unfortunately often occur too late. According to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) $143 million dollars was given to romance scammers in 2018. And that only includes the losses reported by victims. Romance scams are the number one type of online scam for all form of online fraud tracked by the FTC.
The median reported loss is $2600 per victim. The older the victim, the higher the loss. The highest media loss happens to people over the age of 70 who report a median loss of $10,000 each.
Romance scams are not that easy to detect. Scammers are adept at slowly building trust with people, through emails and texts, who are honestly looking for a relationship or those who are lonely. However, in the case of scammers, these supposed love interests always find a reason why they can’t meet in person. They claim that work, military service, health issues, or other obligations keep them away. in the meantime, they build a false friendship and trust in a setup to eventually ask their victim for small amounts of gift cards gifts or money. The requests escalate and work their way up to larger scams hopefully before the person realizes that they are the victim of a romance scam.
How Can You Tell an Online Dating Scammer?
Romance scammers create excuses for why they cannot ever meet in person. This is because the fraudster doesn’t want to get caught. They could very well likely be in another region or across the globe . Nevertheless, the potential date will give excuses of why they cannot meet. Stating they may be stationed in a remote work location on a ship, they may claim that they are in the military, or in a faraway country. They might also claim that they are too sick to travel which can then lead to them asking for help paying for medical bills. Whatever the reason the scammer will assure you that they are indeed interested in you as a person.
Online scammers usually want money but may not ask for it in the form of cash. Online dating scammers might ask for gifts that could be sold or returned for cash, they may ask you to send gift cards to be used to pay bills or sold online. However, some scammers are very bold and may ask for cash outright to pay for travel arrangements so they can supposedly meet you or cover medical expenses if they are in ill health. Rest assured that the romance scammer will find another reason not to ever meet you in person – even when you send cash for a plane ticket.
Romance Scammer Tactics
The Person Has Endless Excuses Not Meet in Person or Video Call
Your prospective romantic partner will offer endless reasons why they can never meet in person or even hop on a video call with you. Romance scammers do not want to be see because they have probably used a fake profile photo. If your new romantic interest is supposedly away in Africa working as a doctor, in the military, or always unavailable because they don’t have money to travel it’s probably a romance scam.
The Romance Seems Too Good to Be True
If the romance seems too good to be true it probably is. Romance scammers are adept and patient at establishing a trust. They slowly build a friendship and ask for money or gifts in increasing amounts.
The Person Seems Overly Interested in Your Children
Some criminals do want to meet in person. If a person seems overly interested in your children, then they may be a scammer with the intention of kidnapping or assaulting your children once they make contact. Don’t introduce any new romantic relationship to your children right away or even allow them to communicate by email text or video.
The Relationship Is Moving Oddly Fast
If the relationship is moving too fast for your comfort or oddly fast for what makes sense, then it may be a romance scam. Criminals are patient and take their time building trust so they can work their way into convincing you to give them money. Everything will be all roses as the scammer whisks you off your feet and out of your fortune with false promises of a life together forever.
Profile Picture Is a Generic Image
If you suspect a dating app profile photo is a generic image, then download the image to your laptop and do a photo search online. If you can find the profile photo elsewhere, then you know for sure it’s a scam. Look for the persons Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn profile to see if they have any other public profiles. Although it doesn’t make someone a criminal if they are not in Instagram, if their photo turns up in multiple places with different names then it’s a scam.
A Dating App or Website Asks for Excessive Sensitive Information
High volume scammers may actually run their own dating apps or websites set up to bilk money out of more people. If you receive a generic message or something that seems very similar to other relationship communications, that’s a scammer at work. The fraudster may also be the only person responding to messages on a dating site if it’s a spoof website. This type of online scam is trying to steal money from as many suitors as possible.
How Do You Know If Someone Is Scamming You?
Pay Attention If Your Friends or Family Are Concerned About Your New Love Interest
Scammers are clever. It might be hard to know for sure if someone is scamming you, but if you’re having difficulty deciding it might be best to ask a friend or loved one for their opinion. Your intuition may be telling you that something is wrong. If something seems off it probably is. You may be the victim of a romance or other scam if the person seems too good to be true followed by them asking you for something you are not comfortable with.
Scammers are usually out for money, but they may ask you to open bank accounts or handle illegal activities for them – like moving money across borders. They might ask you to pay for something in advance like travel tickets clothing or other goods. It’s common for scammers to ask for gift cards because they are not traceable. They can be used for hard goods or services or sold on line for cash. Scammers might ask you to pay an invoice or bill for them.
Hackers on the other hand, may be looking to access banking accounts. They may ask for more details about your identity so they can steal information including logins and banking credentials.
if a dating relationship seems to be moving too quickly but the romance scammer still refuses to meet you in person or at least video chat it’s probably a scam i must conversations with no intentions to ever meet are sure sign that this is not love
Sometimes Websites are Dating Scams
Not all romance scams come in the form of human interaction. Sometimes websites or supposed dating apps can also be part of a romance scam. Obviously, a dating website has to collect and display personal information about you to help you meet someone. A dating website that is asking for excessive or unnecessary information about you may actually be a scam or other spoof website.
In 2015, dating website, Ashley Madison, was targeted in a massive data breach. In the fall out, user profiles were exposed and dumped online. It was also discovered that the majority of profiles on ashleymadison.com were fakes. Although they weren’t out to scam people out of their money, there were very few real women who were looking for real dates. The site made money selling memberships with poor odds of meeting someone real. Be wary of any website where the majority of the photos look like professional photos or fashion models. Look for realistic profiles and expect human interaction.
Protect Yourself with a Credit Card
Web sites that ask for unnecessary and very personal information, especially when is related to finances or information that can be used to reset passwords, are signs that the website is not a legitimate dating site. Never give a website information about your bank account numbers. Although it may be necessary to pay for membership by entering a credit card, there should be a way to pay in the secure checkout area of the website rather than in profile fields. Remember to use a credit card rather than a bank or debit card. That way you will have some consumer protection in case of fraud.
READ: What to Do If Your Identity is Stolen
How Can I Stop a Romance Scam?
According to the Federal Trade Commission, there was $143 million lost to thieves in romance scams in 2018. This is the highest of all types of online scams reported to the FTC. The median reported loss was $2,600, and, for people over 70, it was $10,000.
If you feel uncomfortable with the new romance and If you think you’re caught in a scam breakoff all communication and report the incident to the dating app site and the FTC. report it Report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
Although there are many people out there who are genuinely looking to start a relationship, there are also thousands of scammers looking to steal money or worse yet steal your identity. Be wary of any friendship or romantic relationship that begins too quickly. Be especially careful if someone makes you feel uncomfortable and starts asking for any form of payment.
What Can I Do If I Get Scammed Online?
- Never give anyone your credit card details, account numbers, or PIN
- Stay away from an online friend who ask you to send gift cards or cryptocurrencies
- Don’t pay for travel arrangements or transfer money electronically
- Don’t give anyone login credentials or allow remote access to your computer