With the dating culture taking a step forward into the digital world, online daters have been introduced to the negative side of the internet. The rise of social media and its role in bringing two people together has made it easier for people to date and find romantic partners from different parts of the world. But at the same time, it has also heightened the number of scams, frauds, and cybercrime cases reported worldwide.
Romance scams have now become everyday news. Media and security organizations like the police, and even the FBI, have taken notice of the issue. According to statistics, by 2020, the number of scams on online dating applications tripled as compared to the past few years. Apart from this, people have lost over 300 million dollars to cyber fraudsters. This is why everyone, including media in governmental organizations, has warned users to be vigilant when connecting with people online, especially on dating websites.
If you are an online dating network user, you need to understand how romance scams work so you can save yourself from getting conned. Hence, we have compiled a small guide for people to understand romance scams and how they can avoid them.
What are Romance Scams?
The term is pretty self-explanatory for better understanding – a romance scam, also known as an online dating scam, is when a person tricks another person into a romantic relationship only to con them or blackmail them for criminal purposes.
Romance scams like these have been on the rise worldwide, especially in the US. Romance scams involving fake profiles and blackmailers may not seem like a major issue, but they are leading to worse crimes and money frauds.
Netflix Docuseries “Tinder Swindler” Chronicles the Life of Simon Leviev, a Con Artist who Scammed Women Out of Thousands of Dollars
Different Types of Romance Scams Done Online
Fraudsters have now developed various methods to trick their targets into scamming them. Here are some of the common types of online dating scams we have observed.
Fake Profile Scam
The number of fake profiles present on online dating websites has almost doubled over the years. Most romance scammers make a fake profile on the application to attract their targets. These profiles are carefully designed with limited information. Romance scammers use this technique to appear mysterious and charm their victims.
Military Service Scam
By using this farce, fraudsters usually claim to be a military servant who is deployed abroad or in a different city. This lie serves two purposes. The fact that they are a military person is attractive to many people. Secondly, it is the perfect excuse to avoid meeting their victims in public.
This is when scammers pick out victims belonging to wealthy backgrounds. In inheritance scams, fraudsters usually come up with long-term plans. They target rich and famous people with wealthy inheritances. Often also persuade them to get married – only to get their property and money in a very legal way.
Photos and Intimate Scams
This is the type of scam that occurs where the fraudster uses the blackmailing technique to coerce their victims to engage in illegal and sometimes even criminal activities. In this type of scam, they get ahold of compromising pictures and videos of their victims to use against them later – and force them into committing crimes for them.
Most people are unaware of this technique, but this is becoming very common over time. Malware involves using “malicious software,” which is used to get access to someone’s personal computer or phone.
Online scammers send links to this software to people who trust them – in this case, a romantic partner they found on dating websites. And once their victim opens the link to this software, the scammers get access to their personal computer – which they can further use for their illegal motives.
How to Tell if Your Cyber Sweetie is a Swindler?
Identifying scammers online, especially when you think you are “in love” or at least attracted to someone, can be very difficult. This is why it is crucial to always be careful of the warning signs. Here are some common signs that can help you identify a potential romance scammer.
Their Profile is “Too Good to be True”
If you think you got attracted to a profile at first sight – take a step back and think carefully. Scammers usually design their profiles to attract people instantly. Their profile has very few, but very stunning photos – which can quickly compel someone to swipe right on them.
Moreover, the information added in these profiles is limited but features international trips, a luxurious lifestyle, and expensive products – everything that can charm their victim.
They Fall in Love With You very Soon
Relationships in this day and age do not take off instantly; it takes time to get to know each other, develop a bond and share your feelings before falling in love. But scammers are desperate to form a trusting relationship with their victims and try to rush the relationship.
They are very quick to fall in love and express their feelings toward you – to make you believe they are loyal and you can trust them. Do not fall for it.
They Try to Avoid Meeting You in Public
The biggest plus point for romance scammers in online dating is the fact that they can easily hide their identities. When you meet someone online, you never know who is on the other side, and these swindlers take good advantage of this. And hence they would keep delaying meeting you in person.
Moreover, they shouldn’t be seen with you in public. Hence, to be on the safe side, they will give multiple excuses to avoid meeting you anywhere outside; they prefer intimate meetings and online dating to keep their identity discreet.
Don’t Fall Prey to Romance Scammers.
Dating online now requires users to be super vigilant and watchful of the people they connect with. When swiping right on a profile, make sure you see no red flags. It is important to read a profile and a person’s behaviors early on in the relationship. If you see any of the warning signs mentioned above in your partner, confront them or abort the relationship.
Always remember better safe than sorry.