Love doesn’t really have to be blind – you only need to learn to recognize a match that has been made in a rather expensive Hell and not in Heaven.
Thanks to online dating, most folks are now getting connected to their soul-mates right-left and center.
Unfortunately, thanks again to online dating scams, thousands of individuals who are looking for love only end up with nothing other than broken hearts and empty wallets.
There’s no denying that social media and online dating sites are growing in popularity, and rightly so, most people are finding friendship and love. However, online dating has turned out to be a popular tool for romance scammers.
The trick is simple; start by creating a fake profile and lure in the victims, then establish a romantic relationship and later extort money.
Now, a failed relationship should at least leave you with a broken heart, but leaving you with an empty pocket too shouldn’t be acceptable. But what do we say? Welcome to an era of romance scammers, whereby an online dating profile seeming to be Mrs. or Mr. could just be an opportunistic individual attempting to maneuver a way to your life savings easily.
The Larger Target
An online dating scam can also be on the large scale – in fact, it can be planned with multiple parties involved and can be centered on dating websites. The manner each operates can be different with some start by strengthening your belief with them and ensuring that you become a long-term paying client.
Others might want to get things done swiftly and can install malware on your device, and before you know it, all your accounts are drained. With your personal information on their hands, you can only imagine what they’re capable of doing with it – you can be compelled to pay a ransom to be allowed access to your data.
So, are online dating scams that common?
The Rising Graph of Online Dating Scams
It’s a no-brainer that before technology, everything was done manually – people arrange to meet somewhere and have their discussion. But with technology, now dating is digital and is now even getting worse with the rising number of scams.
According to a report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there was a sharp increase in the financial damage resulting from online dating frauds from 2016 to 2020. During that four-year period, the losses are estimated to have risen by almost $230M.
Therefore, that massive spike is a clear indication that a plethora of folks are on the worst receiving end of these crimes. Precisely, according to the report, in 2016 alone, the number of reported online dating scam cases was about 11,000, but fast forward into 2020, the number had spiked to 32,000.
Even worse, as much as the number looks high, it represents only the reported cases, meaning unreported cases were not factored in – there could be several cases of heartbroken hearts and empty pockets out there!
Furthermore, it’s stated that the average loss as a result of an online date scam is ten times and beyond that of any kind of scam.
Now, since the numbers keep on rising by the day, the question is; are there any ways that you can use to recognize an online dating scam?
The answer is yes.
Ways to Help You Identify an Online Dating Scam
Just like any other relationship, a romance scam doesn’t have a different approach. It all starts low whereby you start a chat with someone, and just like it, the conversation grows daily.
To ensure that you protect your pride, your heart as well as your bank balance, here are some definitive tips to help you spot an online dating scammer:
Mr. or Mrs. Perfect
The other person on the other side will seem to be your perfect match. They’ll like almost everything that you tell them and will always seem to like everything that you like too. You like cats; they’re even eager to get one the moment you people get together. You love music; they even love it more.
If your other person is massively enthusiastic with everything you say you enjoy, then that could be a sign that they could be pretending to be relatable more than they could be.
Profess Love Quickly
If you realize that the other person expresses strong emotions within a short period, then that could be a scam. Sometimes, they go ahead to tell you how they’re in love with you already. You don’t have to fall victim that easily. It’s the easiest that they use to lure you into giving up your personal information.
No Online Accounts
It can be understood why some people will want to have their lives private. For some, it means staying totally away from social media. However, it doesn’t mean that someone must lack at least some kind of digital footprints like an email, username, or even a name.
Therefore, if your “potential” romantic interest doesn’t have any of those anywhere when you try to search even a university or work account, then that should be a red flag. If it seems to you that something isn’t adding up at all, you can go ahead and inquire from them then see their reaction.
An online scammer will explain to you how their nature of work requires them to travel constantly. Moreover, they’ll tell you that they live far away from you; but do you know why – they’re avoiding meeting you in real life because they’re not who they say they are.
There’s no denying that most people need to travel a lot for their job, but it’s a romantic tactic scammers use to buy time to build a bond with their victim without meeting. So you have to be aware.
They Ask Money
Over time, the person you meet online; you might start liking them, and it’ll look as if they like you too. That way, it might be difficult to take one step back and picture out the entire thing. However, if your new love interest asks you for money, then it might be a scam.
In most cases, the reasons for asking you for money could be terrible, heartbreaking, and sad stories. Usually, they claim it’s an emergency, and no one is close at that moment to their rescue but only you – you should not buy that bogus; just question everything in it and literally stay skeptical.
A lot of Questions
There’s no reason not to ask questions about the one you want to build a relationship with, but when some questions are over the board consistently, then it should be a red flag. Some ask personal questions a lot to help them steal your identity; it’s not all about convincing you to send money.
Desire to Chat Off the Dating Site
Most dating sites usually have customer service support to deal with strange behavior. Others even check profiles to check for any unusual activity (like an individual sending a similar message to several people). Scammers want you unprotected and they’ll ask you to have your conversations off the dating site also immediately with excuses – don’t fall for it! Always make your chats on the site.
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Tips on How to Stay Safe
The most significant point is to know when someone is scamming you. That way, your chances of avoiding a scam on online dating are high, and your general online safety is assured.
Here are some of the tips that you should take into consideration when dating online;
- Research on the website before you sign up – ensure that you go through various reviews to scrutinize the dating website before you decide to sign up. Only sign up with legitimate sites that you trust to secure your data.
- Security Tools is a no-brainer – it’s not only on dating sites that you might be exposed to scams. In fact, scams are everywhere on the internet; therefore, the first thing you should consider is installing reliable antivirus and antimalware software on the device you use. For instance, you need the best VPN to offer you protection by encrypting your data, location and masking your IP address.
- Your Personal Information should be Personal – put simply, you should never give out your personal data to anybody. Extreme things can be done in the name of love, but ensure that you don’t give out personal details like phone number and address. If your other person starts to ask questions that project to be security questions – that’s a scammer.
Nonetheless, online scams are on the rise, with online dating scams leading the way. Therefore, you should ensure that your search for love online doesn’t leave you heartbroken and with an empty bank account. Install a quality antivirus, VPN, and firewall, and when online, always be skeptical while maintaining your respect. Security starts with you.