Saturday, July 11

Dating Romance Scams [Video]

Dating

What You Need to Know About Dating 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 makeup and learn the #1 tip for avoiding a romance scam.

Illustration of a woman using a dating app

In 2019, people reported losing $201 million to romance scams. 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.

The Lies Romance Scammers Tell

They’ll often say they’re living or traveling outside of the United States. We’ve heard about scammers who say they are:

  • working on an oil rig
  • in the military
  • a doctor with an international organization

We’ve heard about romance scammers asking their targets for money to:

  • pay for a plane ticket or other travel expenses
  • pay for surgery or other medical expenses
  • pay customs fees to retrieve something
  • pay off gambling debts
  • pay for a visa or other official travel documents

Scammers ask people to pay:

  • by wiring money
  • with reload-cards like MoneyPak or gift cards from vendors like Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, or Steam

Scammers ask you to pay by wiring money, with reload cards, or with gift cards because they can get cash quickly and remain anonymous. They also know the transactions are almost impossible to reverse.

How to Avoid Losing Money to a Romance Scammer

Here’s the bottom line: Never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you haven’t met in person.

If you suspect a romance scam:

  • Stop communicating with the person immediately.
  • Talk to someone you trust, and pay attention if your friends or family say they’re concerned about your new love interest.
  • Do a search for the type of job the person has to see if other people have heard similar stories. For example, you could do a search for “oil rig scammer” or “US Army scammer.” You can also browse the comments on our blog posts about romance scams to hear other people’s stories:
  • Faking it – scammers’ tricks to steal your heart and money
  • Has an online love interest asked you for money?
  • Romance scams will cost you
  • Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture to see if it’s associated with another name or with details that don’t match up – those are signs of a scam.

How to Report a Romance Scam

If you paid a romance scammer with a gift card, contact the company that issued the card right away. Tell them you paid a scammer with the gift card and ask if they can refund your money.

If you think it’s a scam, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Notify the website or app where you met the scammer, too.

Infographic shows the signs of and gives tips to avoid a romance or online dating scam

Source:  Consumer FTC
More and more Americans are turning to dating websites and mobile apps in hopes of finding love and companionship. A Pew Research Center study revealed that nearly 60 percent of U.S. adults consider online dating a good way to meet people, and Match.com, one of the most popular dating sites, says people 50 and older represent its fastest-growing share of users. 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 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.

Over weeks or months, you feel yourself growing closer. You make plans to meet in person, but for your new love something always comes up. Then you get an urgent request. There’s an emergency (a medical problem, perhaps, or a business crisis), and your online companion needs you to wire money quickly. He or she will promise to pay it back, but that will never happen. Instead, the scammer will keep asking for more until you finally realize you’ve been had.

Phony suitors also seek out targets on social media, and they are increasingly active. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received more than 25,000 reports about romance scams in 2019, a nearly threefold increase since 2015. Victims’ losses totaled $201 million, almost 40 percent more than in 2018 and the most for any type of consumer fraud.

The older the victim, the heavier the financial toll, according to the FTC — the median individual loss for people aged 70 and over was $10,000, compared to $2,600 for all victims.

Romance scammers are smooth operators and can take their time to set their trap. Watch out for these red flags if you’re looking for love and companionship online.

Warning Signs

  • Your new romantic interest sends you a picture that looks more like a model from a fashion magazine than an ordinary snapshot.
  • The person quickly wants to leave the dating website and communicate with you through email or instant messaging.
  • He or she lavishes you with attention. Swindlers often inundate prospective marks with texts, emails, and phone calls to draw them in.
  • He or she repeatedly promises to meet you in person but always seems to come up with an excuse to cancel.

Do’s

  • Do take it slowly. Ask your potential partner a lot of questions, and watch for inconsistencies that might reveal an impostor.
  • Do check the photo, using Google’s “search by image” feature.
  • If the same picture shows up elsewhere with a different name attached to it, that’s a sign a scammer may have stolen it.
  • Do be wary of flirtatious and overly complimentary emails.
  • Paste the text into a search engine and see whether the same words show up on websites devoted to exposing romance scams.
  • Do cut off contact immediately if you begin to suspect that the individual may be a swindler.
  • Do notify the dating site or the maker of the dating app on which you met the scammer.

Don’ts

  • Don’t feel a false sense of safety because you’re the one who made the first contact.
  • Scammers flood dating websites with fake profiles and wait for victims to come to them.
  • Don’t reveal too much personal information in a dating profile or to someone you’ve chatted with only online.
  • Scammers can exploit details like your last name or where you work to manipulate you or to commit identity theft.
  • Don’t ever give an online acquaintance intimate photos that could later be used for extortion.
  • Don’t send cash to someone you’ve chatted with only online or put money on a reloadable gift card for the person — you’ll never get it back.

Source: AARP

9 Tips for Staying Safe From Scammers On Dating Sites

Right now the best way to meet men is on a dating site.

Good men are on there but Scammers are as well.

In fact, recently, I heard yet another story of a woman connecting with a scammer on a legitimate dating site.

These men are con artists who will find a way to touch your heart and your pocketbook without a second thought.

I don’t want to scare you and cause you to stop going online because there are good men on there for you to date.

But there are certain clues you need to be aware of that will tip you off to potential scammers.

Read through these 9 tips about what scammers tell you, so you’ll know how to protect yourself from their lies and schemes.

1. Scammers Feed Off Specific Clues You Put In Your Profile

Don’t mention your income or where you work.

You can say you’re a nurse or an executive but don’t mention where or how much you make.

Be aware of sounding needy and lonely in your profile.

It makes you perfect prey for scammers looking to hook you into their scams.

2. He Usually Lives Outside The US

He might tell you that he lives in a metropolitan city in the US but his work takes him elsewhere in the world.

He says he’ll be coming back soon… and, of course, to wait for him because he can’t wait to meet you.

3. Scamming Women Is His Job

Most of these men live in poorer countries around the world where jobs that pay well are scarce.

He’s learned that by working a couple of hours each day, he can easily communicate with women in the US, find their weak spots, and make a fortune.

He’ll probably speak with a British accent that sounds so romantic especially to American women.

He knows this and uses it to his advantage to hook you.

4. What He’ll Tell You About Himself

He’ll have a romantic name like Valentino or Antonio.

His picture online is usually drop-dead gorgeous in a romantic sort of way.

And he uses pictures of great looking men.

Men knowing you’ll feel special being contacted by someone this handsome.

Look closely at those pictures on his profile.

They are often shots found on the internet of handsome models in ads selling items like hats or sunglasses.

Or he’s holding a product in his hand like beer or wine.

Or he might be standing in front of an unusual looking building or an expensive car.

When you ask for more pictures, he’ll send family pictures of children or grandchildren.

The big tip-off:  he’s not in these family pictures because he can’t find any more pics of the models’ image he’s used.

5. He Uses Romance to Lure You In

Women love romance and these men know this has been missing in your life for a long time.

So he steals poems off the internet and sends them to you as if they were his own.

Your heart just melts and you bond with him which makes you even more vulnerable to his scheme.

6.  He’ll Always Have An Excuse For Why He Can’t See You

He’ll tell you that he can’t wait to see you and that he’s making arrangements to travel in a month or two when he can get away from his business.

Right before you’re supposed to meet, he has to cancel the trip for some reason.

This happens over and over again and is another HUGE TIP OFF you’re dealing with a scammer.

7.  You Can’t Find Anything Concrete About Who This Man Is 

Try searching on Google for your Valentino or Antonio.

More than likely nothing will show up.

8. How the scam works

He’ll take the time to chat with you every day for hours.

His male attentiveness feels amazing because he knows its probably been a while since a man has been this devoted to you.

But beware…. what he’s really doing is he is looking for your weak spots.

If you’ve lost a close member of your family, don’t be surprised if he tells you he has too.

He uses these holes in your heart to get you to trust him knowing it will be easy for you to bond with someone who has experienced the same loss as you.

As you’re bonding, he’s telling you things like; I love you, baby, I can’t wait to see you, baby.

Now he’s ready to reign you in for the scam.

He shares the news with you about a HUGE business deal he’s about to close and once it’s done, he’ll come to see you.

He just needs a little more money to finish it or he’ll lose everything.

He might tell you that family members have invested as well but the bank won’t be able to give him the last bit he needs so he’s going to lose the deal and all the money he and his family have invested.

This is when he asks you for your help.

He’s done the work needed to capture your heart.

You’re in love with him and you don’t want to see him suffer.

You want to help him so you wire the money he needs to his bank account.

And you never hear from him again.

9. Action Plan for Protecting Yourself From A Scammer

Thousands of intelligent women get caught up in these scams every year.

Here’s what you can do to stay safe dating online . . . 

Date men closer to home.

Keep emails short and sweet.

Maximum of 5-10 at the most.

Spend no more than a couple of hours on 1 or 2 phone calls max.

Meet a man within 2-3 weeks of initial contact.

If a man tells you he’ll be out of the country for a month or two, tell him to give you a call when he gets back.

Lastly, upload his profile picture to Google Images. You’ll be able to see if the image matches who he says he is or if he has stolen it from someone else.

And use these 9 tips to stay safe dating online.

Source: HuffPost

Dating Scams Romance

Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.

How Dating Scams work

Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. These scams are also known as ‘catfishing’.

Scammers typically create fake online profiles designed to lure you in. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad.

Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging. They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but traveling or working overseas.

Scammers will go to great lengths to gain your interest and trust, such as showering you with loving words, sharing ‘personal information’ and even sending you gifts. They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come.

Once they have gained your trust and your defenses are down, they will ask you (either subtly or directly) for money, gifts or your banking/credit card details. They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature.

Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency. For example, they may claim to have a severely ill family member who requires immediate medical attention such as an expensive operation, or they may claim financial hardship due to an unfortunate run of bad luck such as a failed business or mugging in the street.  The scammer may also claim they want to travel to visit you, but cannot afford it unless you are able to lend them money to cover flights or other travel expenses.

Sometimes the scammer will send you valuable items such as laptop computers and mobile phones and ask you to resend them somewhere. They will invent some reason why they need you to send the goods but this is just a way for them to cover up their criminal activity.  Alternatively, they may ask you to buy the goods yourself and send them somewhere. You might even be asked to accept money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else.

Warning – the above scenarios are very likely to be forms of money laundering which is a criminal offense. Never agree to transfer money for someone else.

Sometimes the scammer will tell you about a large amount of money or gold they need to transfer out of their country and offer you a share of it. They will tell you they need your money to cover administrative fees or taxes.

Dating and romance scammers can also pose a risk to your personal safety as they are often part of international criminal networks. Scammers may attempt to lure their victims overseas, putting you in dangerous situations that can have tragic consequences.

Regardless of how you are scammed, you could end up losing a lot of money. Online dating and romance scams cheat Australians out of millions every year. The money you send to scammers is almost always impossible to recover and, in addition, you may feel long-lasting emotional betrayal at the hands of someone you thought loved you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: