Online dating and romance have now become more popular than ever and so have romance scams. Often criminals adopt fake online identity to gain the trust and affection of a victim. The illusion of a close relationship gives scammers the opportunity to manipulate or steal from the victim.
Scammers begin victimizing these people who were looking for partners. First, they pretend to be a potential companion. Then, the scammers emotionally blackmail people to vent money, personal details, and gifts out of them.
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What is Dating and Romance Scam?
People worldwide use dating apps and social media sites to meet someone. Unfortunately, some of them are not so lucky and end up getting scammed. Dating and Online Romance Scams touched $304 million in damage to the people in 2020.
A dating and online romance scam make use of fake profiles on dating apps and websites. Scammers target through social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. The scammers start a relationship with the victim to get their trust, sometimes talking for several hours a day. Shortly after, they will ask for money.
They pretend to stay outside of the United States of America.
How Romance Scam Works?
Dating and online romance scams mostly happen on dating websites, but scammers also use email and different social media to make the first contact. Sometimes, scammers call the victim, saying it is wrong, hence making the first contact. The other word for this is ‘Catfishing.
Scammers design fake websites and fake profiles online to trap people. They mostly use a false name or take on real human identity, for example, some aid worker, a human working on foreign land, or even a military personal.
Dating and romance scammers will have strong feelings towards you in a brief period. However, they want you to move ahead in the relationship, get on with a private chat, call messaging, or even some texting apps. These scammers say that they belong to Australia or some other western country but are working abroad due to some conditions.
The scammer will do many things to gain your trust and maintain your interest. They will show you an enormous amount of love, share personal information, start sending gifts. They pretend to book flights and come to you, but they never actually show up. Instead, they take months to set up “a romance of a lifetime.”
The scammers say they:
- work on an oil rig in the middle east
- are in the USA military
- a doctor working internationally
Dating and Romance scammers ask the victim for money:
- to pay for their travel expenses
- to pay for medical expenses
- to pay a small customs fee
- to pay off debts
- to pay for travel documents
Scammers ask victims to pay:
- via wiring money
- with reloading cards like MoneyPak or
- gift cards from Google Play, Amazon, Steam, or iTunes
Never send money or gifts to a human you have never met.
Once they have gained your trust and make you feel safe, they will subtly ask you for money sometimes, do this directly, or want your banking or credit card details. Additionally, the scammer will ask for your intimate videos or photos for themselves.
Dating scams start with scammers shall pretending that they have a personal emergency and need money. Then, they will pretend that their immediate family member is ill due to COVID-19 and need funds as they can’t afford the ICU bed. Then, the scammers go ahead and claim that they lost a fortune worth of money as their business shut due to COVID-19 or they got robbed.
They will claim they want to meet you and visit your country but cannot afford it unless you help them by lending them some money on loan to buy the plane ticket or other travel expenses.
They at times use you as a middle man sometimes by sending you valuable items such as phones, laptops, gold, silver, or even foreign currency, requesting you deliver them to a specific address. They will come up with new reasons every time, but it is just a cover-up for their criminal activity.
The scammers also ask you to buy the products yourself and send them to an address given by them. They might even send money to your bank account and use it as a safe gateway for their crimes.
How to tackle Dating and Online Romance Scams
- Stop talking with the scammer immediately.
- Talk to your friends and family about your new relationship.
- Use the internet to search for the job profile and do research.
- Reverse search the persons’ profile picture.
The above situations are money laundering methods, which is a criminal offense. Do not transfer money to people you do not personally know./p>
They will try to lure you in with a large sum of money or gold and silver to help them transfer out of the country and will give you a percentage in it. In addition, the scammers will ask you for money for taxes and administrative fees.
These dating and romance scammers risk people’s safety as they are a part of worldwide illegal systems. In addition, scammers may attempt to lure their victims in foreign, putting them in dangerous conditions that can have bad moments.
It doesn’t matter how they scam you; you might lose a lot of money. Online dating and online romance scams cheat people worldwide out of billions of dollars every year. The money you send to scammers is impossible to recover and, you may have a psychological problem as you get betrayal at the hands of someone you thought loves you.
How to Spot a Romance Scammer?
You meet somebody over the internet, and after a few days, they start having a strong feeling for you, now that person wants to chat on a private application. If it is a dating application, the person will try to move you out from there on a more personal application.
The specifications of their Facebook or dating profile changes multiple times, and sometimes things don’t match. For example, they say they studied at a well-known university, but they speak in broken English.
After gaining your trust, they will narrate you a story and try to extract money, your bank details, or credit card details, even asking you for gifts. The messages they send you to have poor English seem like a copy from the internet, and they pretend to love you.
If you send them money, they will ask you for more money, and if you don’t, they will become desperate, impatient, and straightforward.
Promises do not matter to them. They always excuse not to travel to you or if they want money.
Tips to Avoid Romance Scammers and Protect Yourself
- Do not send money to a person you haven’t met.
- The chances of the approaching person being a scammer are very high, increasing if they exhibit the earlier patterns.
- If they send you an image, do a reverse search on it with Google or TinEye’s help.
- Look for the minor signs and mistakes such as their grammar, parts in the stories they tell you, stuff like the camera is never working when you want to Skype or Zoom call them.
- If you exchange your pictures with each other, take precautions because you have never met each other. Scammers take your images and use them to blackmail the victim.
- Avoid talking to people that ask for payment via wire transfer, money order, international funds transfer, electronic currency, or pre-loaded card.
- Do not lend money to someone you don’t know, as money laundering is a crime.
- Be careful about the personal information you put on social media apps. Scammers will use this information and pictures to create a fake ID or target you.
What To Do If You Have Been A Victim of a Dating and Romance Scam?
If you’re already cheated off money, the team of specialists at Financial Fund Recovery can assist in recovering your funds from and other scams. If you haven’t heard about us, we’re a body of experts aiming to create a secure trading space for all. With $19 million recovered to date, we don’t plan to stop until every trader can deal with reliability.
It is okay to look for love online but certain sites and people can be scams, so you need to be careful when treading on these lines. We are here to safeguard you and your interests from a potential romance scam. The times are tricky, and trusting people easily is not an option right now. Stay In Stay Safe.