Billions of people worldwide use apps and online dating sites to connect with others or find companionship online. While many people find what they seek, there are also several online dating scams. These scams are sometimes referred to as romance scams which occur when a person starts believing that he/she has connected to someone through an online dating app but the other person is a scammer using a fake profile. The scammer grooms the victim or manipulates them to gain trust so that they can steal their identity or money from them. Online dating scams prove very harsh, particularly when someone is played emotionally. This article explains how online dating scams get started, their types, and the early signs.
How is an online dating scam started?
- Please note that online dating scam is not limited to dating apps only rather they can start on social media or online games even.
- Most of the time, scammers rely on exotic yet believable chats to make friends with the victims.
- They use the storytelling method to lure the victim and often try to gain sympathy from emotional experiences.
- The scammer starts duping victims by making them take wrong decisions. They might share investment tips or influence them to join Ponzi schemes. The victim is exploited until he/she finds out. In most cases, scammers stop contacting after their mission is accomplished or the victim becomes aware of the scammer’s intentions.
Some of the most common online dating scams
Fake dating sites
Scam dating sites are on the rise and many people fall to their prey easily. Often, these sites claim to provide users with legitimate meetings but are mostly overpopulated with scammers. They may ask your profile specialty to mine information through a questionnaire or other forms like your first school name or maiden name, etc. Although such sites may look legitimate, they start showing true colours when you become a member for a while. They will send you promotions, surveys or membership plans so that you provide them with your private and financial details. You can check the site authenticity by not uploading your picture or much detail. If you still receive messages from many suitors, the chances are you have come across a fraud dating site.
Military romance scams
In military romance scams, the scammers use the name of military personnel or an entirely fake profile. They would send messages and introduce themselves as widowed or with older children and tragic conditions to gain sympathy. The messages may include military terms, their base location details or titles which might look impressive. They will connect with you emotionally but once you ask to meet physically, they will tell you about their military deployment. Then comes money scooping part to pay home or travelling bills which may last for months until the victim gets suspicious.
Code verification scams
This is a common Tinder scam that involves email or text messaging to verify your tinder account. The message commonly contains updates related matters and account verification which is used by scammers to make future communication. Once you start interacting with scammers, they encourage you to click upon third-party links for account verification which might contain crucial information like your address, bank details or birth date. Although the Tinder site verifies the account, this is done by the company itself. In general, users are instructed by the app to snap a series of selfies, which get compared to the photographs on their profile to assure they match their profile name. Therefore, be very cautious while using any other “verifying” methods.
Online threats like malware, which may be found on dating sites, are frequent. For instance, a match on Tinder could have lots of conversations with you before offering you more details on their own website or even phony Facebook or Instagram sites. But these pages aren’t legitimate. Rather, you’re being sent to a website that has spam and malware that criminals may use to steal your confidential info, resulting in monetary fraud and identity theft. In fact, it is a potential red signal if a person on a dating site is eager to refer you to another site.
This is yet another type of online dating scam that is rising day by day. In this scam, the scammer encourages victims to send their contact details or other information in exchange for intimate pictures of the scammer. The scammer, in reality, exploits victims’ emotions to get data and might involve bots that can trigger excitement or emotions in the victim. Once the victims share data, then scammers use it for financial or other kinds of fraud.
Online dating scam’s early signs
Scammers try to move you out of the dating site or app often
Online dating sites are strictly monitored and have moderators who monitor any strange behaviour of users. They would notice if a similar text is sent to multiple users by the same account or when unusual activity is carried out. To avoid issues, scammers would prefer using another platform where they may easily manipulate you through texts or activities.
The scammers do romantic discussions quickly
One of the common catfish scams is becoming too serious in a romantic relationship quickly. The scammers may flatter you with extraordinary messages or compliments to make you fall in love with them. They will claim that you are special in their life and that they have never felt this way before with anyone. All such romantic conversations may occur within a short time after you have met a scammer online.
Scammers ask you many questions
One of the ways scammers use dating apps or sites is to know about people to manipulate them. Thus, they would often ask you many questions about yourself or urge you to start talking over the phone. This may occur for several days or weeks before they use acquired data against you.
Their profile looks extraordinary
Scammers use profile pictures to keep victims hooked. The pictures might be of models or photoshopped copies that look genuine. Many scammers do not use social media to minimize their personal information on the internet. Thus, they can be marked suspicious if you do not find any trace of that person on any social media site other than the dating app.
Scammers avoid video or skype calls
For scammers, video calling is a great threat as it might expose them instantly. Consequently, they always have some or the other excuse to avoid video calls or personal meetings. Scammers avoid physical interaction so that they are not tracked after their scam is exposed in public.
When scammers use borrowed texts
Since all the conversations made with the victim are a part of a scammed play, the scammers hardly show interest to write the same message again and again. Most of the time, they prefer copying interesting texts from other profiles or dating websites and send them to the victim. To check, you can verify texts through an online search engine and if a similar match comes up, you will know that it is a scam.
Scammers ask for money
One of the reasons scammers scam people through online dating apps or sites is for money. When they feel that you have fallen into their trap, scammers would start asking for money for various reasons. Just say no until you have met the person in real and have made necessary inspections.