Online Dating scam

online dating scam

According to the FTC, The reports of online dating scam have increased to more than thrice in recent years. In the year 2019, the victims who fell for such scams, lost more than $200 Million. All because their so- called girlfriend or boyfriend asked them for a little “help”. This number is just the tip of an iceberg.
Let us look at 20 different types of scams so that people reading this can get a hold of the variety of lies these scammers use. 

What is a romance/Online dating scam?

An online dating scam, also known as a romance scam is when an individual is tricked into believing that they are in a relationship with someone they have met online As a matter of fact, the “other half” in this relationship is a cyber criminal who is  either a doppelganger or a fake identity to gain trust and then either blackmail or ask the other person for financial help. These scams were only prevalent to the dating apps but as of now, these have begun on social media as well.

Let us have a look at some of the statistics with respect to the online scams that are happening around

  1. More than half of all the romance scams reported involve some sort of social media. Dominantly instagram or facebook. As a matter of fact, the first six months of 2020 when the majority of the planet was under a lockdown due to covid, people reported a never seen before surge in the terms of amount of money lost. More than $115 million were lost to these scams. 
  1. Since 2015, the scamsters have increased in a triplefold.
  1. During 2019, more than around 30,000 customers reported to the FTC that they have been victimised to some sort of a scam.
  1. These types of  scams have been the most in number when it comes to the total number of scams reported in 2019 alone. 

Online Scams and the older population:

The population of 55-64 is the most prone to the romance and online dating scam according to a report from the BBS scam tracker, published in 2019. These people also lost nearly $90 million to the scams. An interesting thing to note here is that more than 65% of the money lost during this tenure was sent by a wire transfer. 

These transfers accounted for more than $45 million which is almost a third of the whole money that was reportedly lost. 

Efficacy of online scams

The success rate of online dating scam is more than 50%. That means every second victim out of two is a successful target to the scammers. To put it in contrast, women are more likely to be scammed as compared to men. These online scams are the second worst thing that could happen to women in terms of scams. This fact is again backed up by a report published in the BBB 2019 Scam Tracker Report. 

Area-wise, the midwest is more prone to romance scams as compared to other regions of the country. Here, the average that an individual lost was more than $100. This is drastically high as compared to any of the regions that have romance scams in place. 

As a total, the residents of California have lost the most money to the scammers, almost $450 million. The list is further completed by the residents of New York, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia. 

Warning Signs of romance scams:

Always far. Never near:

The biggest giveaway of an online scam is that the person you think you are in a relationship with is never in your city. The scammers often pose as someone who is working out of station because of some or the other reason. This is the dominant reason that they cannot see you in person. Some of the most common stories are:

  1. “ i work at an oil rig”
  2. “I am in the military, serving in Afghanistan”
  3. “I am a doctor with an international organization.”
  4. “ i am working on a construction site outside US” 

All of these people will keep the conversations and the stories interesting. Always keep a close eye for any sort of inconsistency. 

The relationship is fast:

The scammers want to act fast before they get caught by the victim. This is the reason that they want to gain your trust as soon as they can. Some of the most common ways to achieve this are:

  1. Being too quick in confessing their love.
  2. Being too quick in taking the relationship to a “let’s get married” phase.  
  3. Making promises to see one another soon. 
  4. Asking for platforms other than the dating site to talk to. After all, no one is seeing any one, right?

They say that they need money:

If the person you are involved with asks you for money and you have not met them in person, keep a close eye. 

The scammer may ask money for the following reasons:

  1. Some sort of travel expense, a plane ticket, passport or a visa. 
  2. Medical expenses like an expensive surgery.
  3. Money needed to clear gambling debts. 

Another method the scammers may use to gain the trust is that they might send you money. This can also be linked to the malpractices of laundering money. 

Specific payment methods are asked for:

Scammers may ask you for specific types of payment methods so that they can receive money. These may include wire transfers, a new account number that has you as a nominee or even the holder. These are all quick enough ways to get money and still stay off the radar. Once the victim sends a little money, the scammer begins asking for more. They might even get aggressive once the victim says no for the same. 

Tips to avoid such scams:

  1. If you feel like you’re being scammed, report it instantly to www. We will try and get your money back as soon as possible. 
  2. Never send compromising pictures or videos. You might get blackmailed by them. 
  3. Snoop around if there is even a slight possibility of you thinking that something is not right.
  4. Last but not the least, do not trust people you meet over the internet. 

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