Love or Lies? – Everything You Need to Know About Romance Scams
Scammers on dating sites are experts at social manipulation, making them especially difficult to catch. Nonetheless, we’ll discuss how you can protect yourself from being a future victim.
The Lies They Love to Tell
Scammers prey on people seeking romantic partners, often through dating websites, apps, or social media, by pretending to be prospective companions. They use emotional triggers to entice you to provide money, gifts, or personal information.
How Romance Scams Work
Romance scammers create bogus profiles on dating sites and apps, or they contact their victims via popular social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Tinder. Scammers establish relationships with their victims in order to gain their trust, sometimes speaking or chatting with them several times per day. They then fabricate a story and demand money.
What are the Warning Signs of a Romance Scammer?
When they say they are living or working outside the country as:
- A Drilling rig worker
- Military service personnel
- An international organization’s doctor
When they request money from their victims to:
- Cover the cost of a plane ticket or other travel expenses
- Cover the cost of surgery or other medical expenses
- Pay customs duties in order to retrieve something
- Repay gambling debts
- Pay for a visa or other official travel documents
When they demand payment:
- by wire transfer
- with reloading cards or gift cards from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, or Steam
What are the Typical Scams on Dating Sites?
To summarize, a dating scam typically works as follows: the scammer contacts a victim establishes a trusting relationship and then asks for money. While this is a common pattern, there are other types of online romance scams.
Emergency scams. Scammers make up a fantastic story about how they adopted a child and now need money to raise them—or how they were detained at some remote border crossing and now need money to hire a lawyer. While these stories may appear unbelievable, scammers have been manipulating their victims for months in order to get them to swallow any lie.
Money Laundering. This is a type of money laundering in which criminals hire others to transport illegal funds. Scammers may send money or other valuable items to their victims and ask them to resend them somewhere. This type of fraud is especially hazardous to victims’ safety because they may become inadvertently involved in the financial dealings of an international criminal network.
- Scammers may send phishing links to their victims in order to steal personal information. They could, for example, share a link to their social media page. In fact, the link leads to a malware website. In other cases, a scammer may send a victim a link requesting that they “verify their account,” after which the victim is prompted to enter their personal details and even bank account information. This data can be used to open another bank account or borrow money in the victim’s name.
- Your online friend may quickly request inappropriate photos or videos after starting a relationship and exchanging dating profile photos. They may secretly save those photos and videos in order to manipulate or blackmail you in the future.
Romance baiting schemes. Scammers encourage victims to invest in this relatively new scheme. Scammers, for example, may pose as financially independent women and, when asked how they made their fortune, may refer to a shady cryptocurrency investment scheme. While traditional dating schemes typically target older people, people under the age of 35 account for nearly half of all romance baiting scam losses.
How to Avoid Being a Victim of a Romance Scammer?
A romance scam should not befall anyone. Global Refund Group offers the following suggestions to avoid romance scammers’ trap:
Be wary of accelerated online relationships. If someone attempts to initiate a romantic relationship with you before getting to know you well enough, it could be a scam. Requesting money is a major red flag. Most new romances aren’t concerned with demanding funds. If they refuse to video chat or even talk on the phone, they are most likely trying to avoid exposure. Look for their online presence. You could also do a reverse image search on the person’s profile picture to see if it’s genuine.
You can protect both your wallet and your heart if you know what to look for to avoid being duped by a scammer.