The FBI is advising consumers to be wary when using online dating sites after the agency saw a 70 percent annual increase in reported romance scams. Cybercriminals are reportedly using online dating sites to trick victims into sending money, providing personal and financial information, or even unknowingly acting as a money mule by relaying stolen funds. Learn these tips for keeping yourself—and your financial accounts—better protected when meeting people online. Romance scams, also called confidence scams, are when a bad actor deceives a victim into believing they have a trusted relationship and then uses the relationship to persuade the victim to give money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the perpetrator. The initial grooming phase can last for days, weeks, or even months , and by that time, the victim may be extremely vulnerable to the scam. Techniques of romance scammers are varied and may include:. However, elderly people, women, and those who have lost a spouse are often targeted. Fraudsters have used dating sites to find and target victims for some time, but there is a new twist on romance scams that involves international criminal networks using dating sites to recruit money mules. The victim is then asked to receive and send money from that account. These bank accounts, the FBI says, may be used to facilitate criminal activities.
How to stay safe on dating websites and apps
Online dating scams continue to rise, costing unsuspecting victims millions of dollars each year. Rather than simply sending phishing emails, cybercriminals are playing the long game to cheat people out of their money. If you are using an online dating platform, make sure to look out for these signs that the person you’re talking to is actually a scammerand how to avoid online dating scams in general. Scammers target people across different demographics on every dating platform possible.
How to safety use online dating apps and websites. It is a good idea though, to ask some questions so you know what they are looking for, and email or home addresses, phone numbers or details such as where you work or whether you.
If you see something you think is a scam, you should avoid responding and report the scam to Instagram. Scams on Instagram happen when people create fake accounts or hack into existing Instagram accounts you’ve followed. The scammers use these fake or compromised accounts to trick you into giving them money or personal information. People asking you to send them money or gift cards to receive a loan, prize or other winnings.
Anyone asking you to pay a fee in order to apply for a job. Accounts representing large companies, organizations or public figures that are not verified. People claiming to be from Instagram security asking you to provide account information like your username or password , or offering you account verification services.
People asking you to move your conversation off Instagram to a less public or less secure setting, such as a separate email. People claiming to have a friend or relative in an emergency. People who misrepresent where they are located. Messages that appear to come from a friend or a company you know that ask you to click on a suspicious link. Messages or posts with poor spelling and grammatical mistakes.
People or accounts asking you to claim a prize. Learn more about how to keep your account secure on Instagram.
How to spot and report scams
Ask Leo! Email addresses are generally not a gateway to much more than public information, but still use caution when sharing it with someone who you don’t trust. Now that she knows my email address, can anything bad or dangerous happen? Like a virus or having my account cleaned out? My email is with Google. Ultimately, it really depends on your own level of security savvy, as well as how you’ve used that email address in the past.
These guidelines aim to help online dating site operators respond Some scammers may ask for a loan or to co-invest in a business venture; typically with a too-good- scammer and photos, names and addresses, email addresses or phone.
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.
Tell-tale signs your online date may be an online fraud
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.
One of the most common methods is the scammer who emotionally manipulates the victim to send them money, gifts or personal information. Another type of common deception is sextortion, which usually begins as a normal relationship between two people who begin to know each other until the scammer tries to take the conversation off the dating platform, such as, for example, to WhatsApp.
Are you dating or talking online to someone who says they are a military member Officials and websites like receive hundreds of questions or someone who claims to be in the U.S. military but started asking for money for He give me the email address of his general to allow him to leave on his duty in syria.
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. Older users, in particular, are more often targeted by this type of scam — and most don’t realize they are a victim until it is too late. We also have information about how to report a dating scammer if you or someone you love has fallen victim to one. Romance scammers are experts in social manipulation and can sound very convincing.
Many of the signs of a romance scammer are subtle and insidious because the scammer is trying to build trust before they exploit you.
How to Spot the Signs of a Romance Scammer and Report Online Dating Scams
Online dating sites are a common way people seek romance. But what if, instead of a potential match, you find a scammer? Today, t he FTC announced a lawsuit against Match. But the person whose eye you caught?
Phishing emails claiming to be from an online dating site and encouraging you to Don’t include your contact information such as your email address, home address, There is no reason for anyone to ask you for money or your financial.
Don’t give money or personal details to anyone you don’t know or trust – for example someone who knocks on the door and offers to help. Read our advice on how to stop nuisance calls and texts. Sometimes scammers ask to access your computer so they can control it remotely. For example, they might pretend to be from your internet provider and say they need to deal with a technical problem.
AARP Rewards is here to make your next steps easy, rewarding and fun! Learn more. A Pew Research Center study revealed that nearly 60 percent of U. 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 a military deployment.
Always carefully check email addresses when dealing with on the letter/fax/email requesting Scammers target victims on online dating websites, but can.
Scammers may take several months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and can even pretend to book travel to visit you, but they never actually arrive. Once they have gained your trust and your defences are down, they will ask you, either subtly or directly, for money, gifts, or your banking or credit card details. Often, scammers will pretend that they need the money for some sort of personal emergency or insist they need the money to travel to visit you.
Scammers will go to great lengths to gain your interest and trust. Romance scammer tactics include:.