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. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad.
How to prove and fight online dating and romance scams
File a Consumer Complaint. Romance scammers prey upon feelings, resulting in some of the biggest scam losses — often in the thousands of dollars per victim. Scammers use profiles not only on dating sites but also other social media websites to reach out where you might not be expecting. They use many methods to try to gain your trust.
Online dating sites offer a convenient match-making service. that you are being targeted by a scammer, stop all communication immediately and report it to the.
Oftentimes, the con artists convince their marks to open bank accounts under the guise of sending or receiving funds. The story may be spun further, and the scammer will ultimately convince the victim to open the account in their name or register a limited liability company and allow money transfers to flow into the account. In reality, however, the fraudsters transfer stolen money into the account and instruct their unsuspecting crime accomplices into forwarding the money to accounts controlled by the fraudsters.
A recent report by the Better Business Bureau BBB said that up to 30 percent of romance scam victims in were used as money mules. Worse still, it is generally recognized that most victims are too embarrassed to come forward, so the actual losses are expected to be far higher. Obviously, romance scammers also scout for victims on social media, where, just like on dating sites, they lure victims with fake online profiles, creating attractive personas and elaborate plots.
Here are two more articles and a video about dating fraud, complete with recommendations for how to stay safe.
A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigning romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victim’s money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, or national identification numbers ; or forcing the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.
Number of cases rose from to in only two years. Romance scammers create personal profiles using stolen photographs of attractive people for the purpose of asking others to contact them. This is often known as catfishing. Communications are exchanged between the scammer and victim over a period of time until the scammer feels they have connected with the victim enough to ask for money.
While many legitimate websites help to bring people together every day, stories of online dating scams are a regular occurrence. Facebook scams: will they take complaints about fake adverts seriously? The majority of fraudulent cases involve someone setting up a fake identity using stolen photos and pretending to start a relationship with their victim. Never share your financial details with someone you meet through an online dating website.
Personal information, such as your date of birth, address and passwords should also be kept secret. When you sign up to a website, check the small print on how it verifies new users. Some, such as MySingleFriend. Others won’t upgrade a membership until photos have been added, while apps like Tinder require you to have a Facebook account to join. Online dating fraud is a crime and should be reported to Action Fraud as soon as possible. If you receive a suspicious email or message through a website, report it to the site for investigation.
Keeping an eye on your bank accounts and credit card statements on a regular basis is a good way to watch out for any unusual payments. Online dating can be a good way to meet a future partner although the costs vary a lot. You could save even more money by avoiding the internet and going down the traditional route.
FBI warns of romance scams using online daters as money mules
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.
What to Do If You Think You Have Been a Victim · Report the activity to the website where the contact was first initiated. · Report the incident to the Internet Crime.
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.
How to Spot the Signs of a Romance Scammer and Report Online Dating Scams
Scammers can be experienced in spinning stories to lure in their victims. However, there are some red flags that might help you spot them. These include the following:.
It’s not just young people attracted to the ease of online dating: older generations In , Action Fraud received around 7 romance fraud reports every day.
The growth of online dating has led to an explosion of catfishing and the combination of lust, infatuation or love means that innocent people can get manipulated or exploited. These relationships can go on for years and often end in tragic emotional or financial consequences for the victims. Catfishers can be driven by anything from loneliness to obsession or revenge.
They can be motivated by the desire to live vicariously through a fake persona, to extort money from a victim, to make mischief or any number of other intentions. Other sinister cases can involve sexual predators or stalkers who use this online anonymity to get close to their victims. There are several truly bizarre examples out there, like the girl who was catfished twice by another girl who posed as two different men.
Your date looks like a supermodel Online dating scams usually start with an attractive person initiating contact through social media or dating sites. A common theme is that catfishers use picture of models, actors or a member of the beautiful people club. Most catfish scams will use an attractive profile picture to keep the victim hooked and to make them want the fictional person to be real.
Tell-tale signs your online date may be an online fraud
This is how much money victims of dating scams reported losing. claims from nearly 18, romance fraud victims across the country, who.
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.
Watch out: If an online admirer asks to communicate with you outside the dating website, such as through a private email address or over the phone, watch out — they could be trying to avoid detection. If you are considering meeting in person, choose a public place and let family or friends know where you are at all times.