Internet romance scammers know what their victims are longing to hear, expert says
How to spot a scammer
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.
Here are six red flags to help detect and sidestep romance scams. Let’s leave the site: Online dating sites have the ability to monitor and boot.
I frequently get requests from friends and readers to help them save a loved one from a romance scam. Lots of money. The closer the date appears to be getting to the victim, the more unexpected calamities appear. The scammers seem to delight in torturing their victims and seeing just how outrageous they can make the stories be and still get paid. Many victims lose substantial sums of money, often their entire lifesavings.
Some wealthy victims have lost millions of dollars. Many willingly go spending into the poor house selling off every available asset, convinced that their online lover needs just a bit more money to make all their dreams come true. We are all human and are probably overly susceptible to some sort of scam during a low point of our life.
Before contacting me, family members and friends have already tried everything they know to convince the victim that what is happening is a scam. Their love is real, and will stay real until the myth is broken. Below are nine tell-tale clues to help you spot a dating scam, and what and what not to do to help convince the victim that they are indeed a victim before the money runs out.
5 Ways to spot an online-dating scammer
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 this scam works Warning signs Protect yourself Have you been scammed? More information. 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.
Romance scammers post their fake profiles on popular dating websites and apps. They also target people through direct messaging on social.
Dating and romance scams are very destructive — both financially and emotionally. These scams also cause significant emotional harm, with many victims reporting a break down in relationships with friends and family. With the proliferation of online dating websites, forums and social media channels, these scams are moving increasingly into the online space.
Online communication channels allow scammers to operate anonymously from anywhere in the world. They can be very elaborate hoaxes, sometimes taking years to develop and run by experienced criminal syndicates. The scammer develops a strong connection with the victim before asking for money to help cover costs associated with a supposed illness, injury, family crisis, travel costs or to pursue a business or investment opportunity. There have been reports of scammers using this material to blackmail victims.
How to prove and fight online dating and romance scams
Navigating the world of Internet dating can be an exciting and fun way to meet potential partners. However, you might quickly discover that some things are not what they seem on certain sites and profiles. Though it is one of the fastest-growing ways for singles to meet each other and form lasting relationships, there are definitely those who use the sites for dishonest purposes.
These red flags may refer to clues that the person on the other end of a profile might be untrustworthy, or that the website itself might not be truthful about its intended purpose. All dating websites will ask for a certain amount of information in order to match you successfully with people who will hold your interest. However, this information will generally be limited to personality details and interests rather than financial information or anything that might be useful to someone wishing to steal your identity.
Local Field Office Locations: www. In some cases, the victim is persuaded to launder money on behalf of the actor. Actors often use online dating sites to pose as U. IC3 receives victim reports from all age, education, and income brackets. However, the elderly, women, and those who have lost a spouse are often targeted. Victims often send money because they believe they are in a romantic relationship.
For example, an actor claims to be a U. After a few months of building a relationship with the victim, the actor asks the victim to send gifts or electronics to a foreign address. After a few more months, the actor expresses a desire to return to the U. The actor claims not to have the money to pay for travel and asks the victim to wire funds. In some cases, the actor claims the wired funds did not arrive and asks the victim to resend the money.
Some actors provide a fake travel itinerary. Actors groom their victims over time and convince them to open bank accounts under the guise of sending or receiving funds.
What’s the nature of your enquiry?
Men and women looking for prospective romantic partners online should take note of these two: Laura Cahill, who described herself as an aspiring young model living in Paris, and Britney Parkwell, who pointed to her relative youth as a year-old from sunny San Jose, California. There’s one big problem: Despite profiles that said they were seeking love online, they never existed.
They were fake personas created as part of an elaborate scheme run out of Africa to con hundreds of thousands of dollars from vulnerable Americans, according to the California-based cyber-security firm Agari. A firm report details how men and women were targeted by fraudsters.
How to recognize a scammer by profile photo?
The criminals who lured her into an online scam last summer approached her not on a dating site, where she might have been wary, but through the neighborhood hub called Nextdoor. He also lived in her Chicago neighborhood, he told her, specifying a street. Could they have a conversation? Floren, who is 67 and a part-time educational consultant.
They chatted on the site for a week or so. She agreed. Soon they shifted to phone conversations, often lasting an hour, and to texting several times a day. Floren said.
6 red flags for online dating scams
The online dating industry is big and profitable. Love is a big business. But for me, personally, online dating is no laughing matter. Every year, thousands of people are catfished online and it can take a toll — not just financially, but emotionally, too. As a public figure, my image and likeness have been used in a number of dating sites and social media platforms. He was even able to create a video image that looked like me and spoke with her on Skype numerous times.
dollars from Americans via online dating sites. While the case was remarkable for its magnitude, when it comes to so-called “romance scams.
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. But, there are certain clues you need to be aware of that will tip you off to potential scammers. Scammers feed off specific clues you put in your profile.
Be aware of sounding needy and lonely in your profile. It makes you perfect prey for scammers looking to hook you into their scams. He might tell you that he lives in a metropolitan city in the U. Most of these men live in poorer countries around the world where jobs that pay well are scarce. He knows this and uses it to his advantage to hook you. His picture online is usually drop dead gorgeous in a romantic sort of way.
Look closely at those pictures. They are often shots found on the internet of handsome models in ads selling items like hats or sunglasses. Or he might be standing in front of an unusual looking building or an expensive car.
How to Avoid a Romance Scam When Using Online Dating Sites
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.
We want you to have a safe and friendly experience on the Match site. Follow this simple advice to make your dating experience as safe as possible.
Online dating works. There are millions of singles online in the UK, seeking what we all look for: love, companionship and a long-term future. I met my gorgeous husband through online dating, and during the ten years I worked for Match. Figures published by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau show a scary upward swing:. It was thought that women were the main targets for online-dating scammers. But men are increasingly duped. The losses can be huge—financially, and emotionally.
In some ways, I’m not sure I’ll ever recover from that. Most online-dating scammers live and operate abroad, so they are hard to prosecute. Plus, many victims are embarrassed to seek help from friends or the authorities until things have spiralled completely out of control.
Looking for love online? Romance scammers steal your heart to steal your money
Thanks to online dating scams, each year thousands of Americans who are searching for love end up with nothing but a broken heart and an empty wallet. While online dating and social media sites have become increasingly popular tools to find love and friendship, they’ve unfortunately also become popular tools for fraudsters known as romance scammers.
These con artists create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money. According to the Better Business Bureau, victims in the U.
No matter what web site you’ve met on (e.g., social media or online dating site), a scammer will want to move the victim to a personal email.
Army Criminal Investigation Command CID receives hundreds of reports a month from individuals who have fallen victim to a scam perpetrated by a person impersonating a U. Soldier online. Soldier who then began asking for money for various false service-related needs. Victims of these scams can lose tens of thousands of dollars and face a slim likelihood of recovering any of it.
Victims may encounter these romance scammers on a legitimate dating website or social media platform, but they are not U. To perpetrate this scam, the scammers take on the online persona of a current or former U. Soldier, and then, using photographs of a Soldier from the internet, build a false identity to begin prowling the web for victims. The most common scheme involves criminals, often from other countries — most notably from West African countries — pretending to be U.
Soldiers serving in a combat zone or other overseas location. These crooks often present documents and other “proof” of their financial need when asking their victims to wire money to them. Such scams, when they involve dating sites, pose a unique challenge in the fight against impostors and identity thieves, because on such sites a dating profile is often required to conduct a search for fake accounts.
In addition, it is not possible to remove dating site profiles without legitimate proof of identity theft or a scam. If you suspect fraud on a dating site, take a screenshot of any advances for money or impersonations and report the account on the platform immediately. The following scams affect military members:.
Edmonton Police Service
The embrace of online dating services, such as dating apps or virtual places to meet people, is a phenomenon that has occurred worldwide. There are dozens of dating apps available; some operate globally, while others only work in some countries that have greater acceptance of them. But without a doubt, two of the most popular applications among the extensive great offerings that exist are Tinder and Happn , which claim more than 50 million users each.
Although they come in different flavors, in most cases the criminals committing romance scams study the profiles of their victims and collect personal information, such as their work activity, their level of income, and their lifestyle, because the mismanagement of our personal information in the digital age allows a criminal to build a fairly detailed profile of a future victim.
Ellen Floren was not looking for love. The criminals who lured her into an online scam last summer approached her not on a dating site, where.
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. He had promised to take care of her and her children, according to a report from Gizmodo , if he could just have money to get home. After that, he blackmailed her with nude photos for more money.