Internet romance scammers know what their victims are longing to hear, expert says
As the number of dating sites and social media apps has gone up , so too has the number of romance scams reported — from 17, in , 11, in , and 8, in The Cut spoke to the victim of one such scam, Debby Montgomery Johnson, now 60, who lost more than a million dollars to a scammer between and How did you meet the man who would eventually scam you? My husband passed away suddenly in That threw my life into a tailspin. Lou left [for a short trip] on a Wednesday, and I got the call Thursday morning. There was no closure. He had started an internet company, and I was thrown into running it, in addition to my own job as a treasurer for one of the local schools. This was in November
Watch Out for Romance Scams
Millions of people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, many find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money. Read about the stories romance scammers make up and learn the 1 tip for avoiding a romance scam. People reported losing more money to romance scams in the past two years than to any other fraud reported to the FTC. Romance scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps, or contact their targets through popular social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Google Hangouts.
Online dating site Bumble, owned by MagicLabs, is valued at $3 billion and Match Group, which owns sites like Tinder, Hinge, and
It can be surprisingly easy to fall prey to a romance scam — and has nothing to do with stupidity, an online fraud expert has warned. It is a ‘romance’ between people who never meet, based purely on text messages, internet liaisons and phone calls. Yet victims all too often are willing to give away thousands of dollars and risk facilitating a crime. But a counsellor who works with such victims on a daily basis said the scenario was “way more complex”. Ms Malet-Warden said to prompt someone to fall in love with a scammer, the victim was first “seeded” with an idea.
The fraud is called an “advanced feed fraud” as the victim gives money expecting to get it back and all sorts of false ID is provided to let the victim believe they will get the money back. People are losing everything in these scams, from superannuation to life savings, and on top there is the loss of a person they believed was the love their life. Ms Malet-Warden said the victims were “happy to give because they are in love”. Ms Malet-Warden said scammers used the complex language of love to connect with their victims in the early stages of a process that regularly hooked smart, educated people.
When we speak to victims they say they’ve been connected, prolifically in the initial stages, using extremely validating language and we are all suckers for it,” she said. They’re incredibly supportive, they’re appealing, they’re flattering, they’re soothing. Ms Malet-Warden said the process results in the brain releasing specific chemicals. An IDCARE study of relationship scam cases reported from to across Australia and New Zealand revealed scammers used “specific and highly validating narrative to gently groom the victim into a loved-up state so powerful, they agree to part with money”.
Safe Online Dating
Ken Duffy KenDuffyNews. More people are turning to online dating for a semblance of companionship during the coronavirus crisis — sites often rife with sophisticated scams targeting Americans from overseas, the FBI warns. Singles might be using online dating sites like Match. But while it might be a nice way to have human contact online, it may leave people more vulnerable to scammers who want to drain bank accounts.
It might be a fake story about the inability to pay bills or a death in the family.
Scammers use profiles not only on dating sites but also other social media Check out stories of other romance scams online and see if your romance is.
Most of the defendants are Nigerians, the Associated Press reported. Attorney Nick Hanna told a news conference. Army captain in his efforts to smuggle himself and his friends out of Syria. The woman met him online and had been emailing for 10 months. There was no such army captain. Romance-related scams are now the most costly form of online fraud, the Federal Trade Commission warned earlier this year.
In many of these scenarios, people are convinced by strangers they meet online — often on dating apps — to fork over money. The number of romance scams reported to the FTC increased to more than 21, in , up from 8, in In a typical scenario, a victim meets someone through a dating website or other online space. Case in point: A woman came across a man on dating app Tinder claiming to be a U. Army captain and quickly fell for him.
How to Protect Yourself From an Online Dating Scam
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:.
Based on the number of victims, this type of fraud was the seventh most commonly reported scam last year. Money-wise, it was the second costliest scam in terms of losses reported by those victims. There are scads of similar stories. An example of the rising trend of recruiting mules from dating sites is that of a woman who met somebody on a dating site who convinced her that he was a civil engineer.
He promised her a job working at his side. Would the love of his life be up for traveling to South America to pick up the contract and carry it to him in London?
Romance Fraud (Or Online Dating Scams)
File a Consumer Complaint. Romance scammers prey upon feelings, resulting in some of the biggest scam losses — often in the thousands of dollars per victim. Scammers use profiles not only on dating sites but also other social media websites to reach out where you might not be expecting. They use many methods to try to gain your trust. They may talk to you many times a day, making you feel like you really know them.
The FBI is advising consumers to be wary when using online dating sites after the agency saw a 70 percent annual increase in reported romance scams. Cybercriminals are reportedly using online dating sites to trick victims into sending money, providing personal and financial information, or even unknowingly acting as a money mule by relaying stolen funds.
Learn these tips for keeping yourself—and your financial accounts—better protected when meeting people online. Romance scams, also called confidence scams, are when a bad actor deceives a victim into believing they have a trusted relationship and then uses the relationship to persuade the victim to give money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the perpetrator.
The initial grooming phase can last for days, weeks, or even months , and by that time, the victim may be extremely vulnerable to the scam. Techniques of romance scammers are varied and may include:. However, elderly people, women, and those who have lost a spouse are often targeted.
How to spot and avoid online dating scams
Do you have questions about your vision health? 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.
This potential mate claims to live in another part of the country or to be abroad for business or a military deployment. But he or she seems smitten and eager to get to know you better, and suggests you move your relationship to a private channel like email or a chat app.
With the proliferation of online dating websites, forums and social media channels, these scams are moving increasingly into the online space. Online.
Privacy Maintain privacy and avoid identity theft or fraud. Preventing Identity Theft Your identity is precious. Keep it that way with a few simple precautions. Skype and Internet Calls Use the Internet to make calls safely. Social Networking Sites A great way to stay in touch. Make sure it’s safe and secure. Chatrooms Chatting online is fun, but do you know who you’re actually talking to? Membership means that the site has to commit to an industry code of practice that includes honest communication with users, protecting their privacy and providing a mechanism for reporting abuse.
Inclusion of the ODA’s logo on the site indicates membership. Creating your online dating profile : protect your identity and personal information. Don’t include your surname or any other identifying information such as your place of work either in your profile or when you first make contact.