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:.
Online Dating Scams and How to Protect Yourself
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 can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you. Research the person’s photo and profile using online.
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.
The scammers strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day. Then, they make up a story and ask for money. Scammers ask you to pay by wiring money, with reload cards, or with gift cards because they can get cash quickly and remain anonymous.
Scammers recruiting money mules on dating sites is on the rise, says FBI
AARP Rewards is here to make your next steps easy, rewarding and fun! Learn more. 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.
Most romance scams start with fake profiles on online dating sites created by stealing photos and text from real accounts or elsewhere.
Over the past few years, an increasing number of singles have been turning to the digital world of online dating, social networking sites, and singles forums to find romantic partners. If popular Internet dating site, Match. Internet dating can be a great, low pressure way to meet new people and expand your social circle. However, online mingling comes with its own unique set of risks that consumers should keep in mind this February 14 th.
Sweetheart swindles : In this scam, a fraudster begins a drawn-out process by setting up a profile on a dating or singles site and wooing potential victims by showering them with affection, quickly professing love, and even going so far as to send small gifts like flowers and chocolate. The romance period can last for several months. Eventually, the scammer will invent some imagined hardship—car crash, medical bills, travel expenses—and solicit their new love for money.
Child predators : According to Online Dating Magazine, a consumer watchdog publication for online daters, sexual predators can use online dating services to target single parents. These criminals woo single parents and gain their trust and affection to secure what they are really after: access to the children. A registered sex offender named Michael Bradley, who was convicted of abusing a year-old-boy, showed interest in the woman, violating a court order not to seek relationships online.
Your Identity Could Be Used in Online Dating Scams. Here’s How to Protect Yourself.
That may come as no surprise since tens of millions of U. In fact, the Identity Theft Resource Center, which I lead, has received calls from victims of online dating scams. In one instance, a male victim met someone through an online dating service.
Sh’reen Morrison had been on an online dating site for only a few weeks before she realized that something was seriously wrong with the man who had been actively pursuing her by text message and email. They’d hit it off right away, and he said he lived just outside of Phoenix, which seemed relatively proximate to a woman in remote Yuma, Ariz. But meeting in person was always a problem. First, he was traveling through India with his daughter. Then the daughter became ill and had to be hospitalized.
When Morrison suggested that her suitor put his daughter on a plane to get better medical attention at home — and even offered to pick the girl up at the airport — a new crisis struck. By then, Morrison knew she was dealing with a scammer. The ending came as no surprise to experts on romance scams. Though the amounts and details of the scam vary from victim to victim, when it comes to romance scams, the con is almost always the same: The crook wants to get a besotted victim to wire money or provide access to a credit card.
9 things scammers tell you
For many, online dating provides an easy and accessible way to meet potential companions through a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. However, an increase in online dating site users means an increase in the likelihood for scams on these platforms. If you choose to use an online dating site, be proactive and know the warning signs to avoid being scammed while searching for a potential love interest.
dollars from Americans via online dating sites. While the case was remarkable for its magnitude, when it comes to so-called “romance scams.
It had only been a few months, but Grace knew she and Scott were going to spend the rest of their lives together. She was retired, middle class, a widow with three kids who all now had families of their own. He was a successful businessman who worked in solar energy, drove a Mercedes, and had two houses — one in Cuba and another in the US. He was wealthy and promised he would take care of her.
Could she help?
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. According to the FBI, romance scams and similar confidence scams cost consumers more money than any other kind of Internet fraud. The FBI says it may be embarrassing for victims to report this type of fraud scheme because of the personal relationships that are developed, so the real numbers are probably higher.
As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about.
We found online dating website scam campaigns primarily targeting Japanese customers for their personal and financial information.
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. They may tell you they love you very quickly. Then, it will happen — they will need money for something urgent.
How to Protect Yourself From an Online Dating Scam
Privacy Maintain privacy and avoid identity theft or fraud. Preventing Identity Theft Your identity is precious.
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. Your date looks like a supermodel Online dating scams usually start with an attractive person initiating contact through social media or dating sites.
A common theme is that catfishers use picture of models, actors or a member of the beautiful people club. Most catfish scams will use an attractive profile picture to keep the victim hooked and to make them want the fictional person to be real. Self-confidence is one thing but alarm bells should go off if a model suddenly contacts you to ask for a date. However, imposters often claim to have shared interests to ensure that they have a topic of conversation.
6 red flags for online dating scams
Con artists are eager to take advantage of people looking for love on dating sites. Here’s how to spot a scammer in your pool of matches.
AARP Rewards is here to make your next steps easy, rewarding and fun! Learn more. Romance scams , and the millions of dollars lost to them, have jumped dramatically in recent years, even as experts say many cases still go unreported because victims are embarrassed or ashamed. That’s roughly equal to the population of Santa Fe, New Mexico. That’s more than a dollar for every man, woman and child in the U.
Online daters of all ages have fallen victim to the cruel crooks who break hearts and empty bank accounts. To shed light on why people succumb, a social psychologist, a cybercrimes expert and a Secret Service agent share insights into romance scammers and offer advice on how to protect yourself from these heartless offenders.