Online dating scams, also known as romance scams or romance fraud, occur when a person believes they have struck a connection or match through an online dating site or app, only to discover that the person they are speaking with is a fraudster with a phony profile.
The scammer manipulates or grooms the other person over time in order to gain their trust and, ultimately, beg for money or gather enough personal information about them to steal their identity.
History of Online Dating Scams & Its Impact on The Economy
Unfortunately, far too many people have been involved in a love tale that does not end happily ever after. These online dating fraud statistics provide some evidence.
Romance scams on the rise
- Loneliness, particularly during COVID-19 isolation periods, and the advancement of new technologies have aided the spread of romance frauds in recent years.
- Since 2019, over half of all romantic fraud reports to the FTC have involved social media, most commonly Facebook or Instagram. Victims of social media-based scams reported losing about $117 million in the first six months of 2020, a new high. (October 2020, FTC)
- Over 35,000 victims stated that social media was used to facilitate cybercrime. (FBI, Internet Crime Report, 2020)
- Since 2015, the number of persons reporting romantic scams to the FTC has nearly tripled. (February 20, 2021, FTC)
- More than 32,000 people reported romantic scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2020. (February 20, 2021, FTC)
- In 2020, over 24,000 people were victims of confidence/romance scams. (FBI, Internet Crime Report, 2020)
The true costs of online dating
- Romance Scams can have a negative impact on your mental well-being and feeling of trust, as well as being expensive and irreversible.
- In 2020, the total reported losses from romance scams surpassed any other scam recorded to the FTC. (February 20, 2021, FTC)
- People reported losing $304 million to romance scams in the year 2020. That’s nine times more than it was five years ago when it was $33 million. (February 20, 2021, FTC)
- According to reports, the average individual loss from a romance scam in 2020 was $2,500. (February 20, 2021, FTC)
- The median individual loss from romance scams in 2020 was ten times larger than the median loss from all other types of fraud. (February 20, 2021, FTC)
- In 2020, the top six most dangerous scams were romance scams. (According to the BBB 2020 Scam Tracker Risk Report)
- In 2020, the second-highest internet crime loss will be confidence/romance scams, which will cost victims upwards of $600 million. (FBI, Internet Crime Report, 2020)
Online dating scams statistics for older adults
- Dating scams can affect people of all ages, but older persons are particularly vulnerable.
- People aged 55 to 64 are the most vulnerable to romance scams. (According to the BBB 2020 Scam Tracker Risk Report)
- In 2020, romantic scams cost seniors approximately $139 million, followed by prizes, sweepstakes, and lottery scams, which cost $69 million. (FTC Report on Protecting Older Consumers, 2020-2021)
- Wire transfers accounted for 68 percent of the money wasted on romance scams by older persons in 2020. (FTC Report on Protecting Older Consumers, 2020-2021)
- About $31 million in bank transfers and payments were sent in conjunction with romance scams, accounting for about a third of the money lost by older individuals to romance scams. (FTC Report on Protecting Older Consumers, 2020-2021) Older individuals were apparently defrauded of an additional $12 million in cryptocurrencies by romance scammers. (FTC Report on Protecting Older Consumers, 2020-2021)
Online Dating Scams Are Crippling The Economy!
It always seems like web-based dating, using dating websites, or swiping through dating apps is quite exciting, but you’ll realize that it’s very challenging to discover a match that’s real, safe, and authentic. It’s possible that things won’t always be as they seem.
Although online dating is thought to be one of the most effective ways to find your ideal partner, there are still plenty of people out there who prey on people, are unreliable with them, and try to take advantage of them by stealing their assets, money, and other crucial information in an effort to cause harm. However, if a situation like this occurs, you shouldn’t overreact because we are here to help you with getting to recover your data, and resources, and keep you very informed so you can date online in a secure way! These extortion specialists or scammers use innovative and modern strategies to execute long-game tricks in order to get information from you.
These con artists will make an initial effort to contact you. They will get in touch with you via a web-based messaging service, such as Messenger, WhatsApp, or another, and then make an effort to establish a relationship. The con artist makes an effort to connect with you by bringing up issues you have in common. They might even follow you around to learn more about your hobbies.
At that time, they will start interacting with you frequently in an effort to build rapport. Naturally, when emotions are involved, our psyches do indeed become a little cloudy; at this point, they launch their assault and lead the honest person toward paying for their goods. They may claim they require money for an urgent medical operation or that they must go for important business but lack the necessary funds before asking you to credit the money to them. They may also invent other fictitious but creative justifications for lending them the money.
The following are warning signals of online dating scams, regardless of platform or app: Facebook catfish scams, Instagram dating scams, Plenty of Fish scams, Snapchat meetup scams, and so on.
They strive to get you off the dating app or site as soon as possible
This is because many online dating apps have customer service teams that keep an eye on unusual conduct. They may report suspicious conduct if they detect a user sending the same message to many users or other strange behavior. Scammers try to move you to another platform, such as WhatsApp or something similar, to avoid this. “My membership is going to expire,” “I don’t enjoy signing in here every day,” or “It’s easier to communicate on WhatsApp than here” are all possible excuses.
The conversation quickly becomes romantic
In catfish scams, it’s customary for the imposter to become very serious very quickly. They might lavish you with lavish compliments and pretend to be in love with you. Perhaps they claim to have a special connection with you or declare that you are their soulmate and that they have never felt this way about anyone else. This transition frequently occurs early on, according to victims.
The con artist asks you a lot of personal questions
This is because the more information they have about you, the more easily you may be manipulated. The con artist will also tell you a story about himself or herself, and you may be invited to begin talking on the phone. This phase can continue for weeks, if not months.
Their profile photo resembles that of a model
To keep the victim hooked, catfish scammers utilize beautiful profile images. Frequently, these are images of actors or models or even stock photos. It’s easy to tell if a profile photo is real if it appears to be too wonderful to be true. If their profile photo has been used elsewhere on the internet, a reverse image search will reveal it.
They don't leave any digital traces
While some people avoid using social media and strive to keep as little personal information about themselves on the internet as possible, it can be suspicious if you can’t locate any sign of someone online.
They use borrowed text
Scammers frequently duplicate profile text and messages from other websites or dating profiles rather than making their own. To double-check, type suspicious text into an online search engine and see what comes up. If they do, don’t answer or message back.
They will not Skype, video call, or meet in person with you
They always come up with an excuse why they can’t do it. People who have been conned say that the other party made numerous excuses to avoid coming on camera.
Their lives sound like something out of a soap opera
The imposters in catfish schemes frequently fabricate intricate stories about illness, family tragedies, or big accidents in order to elicit sympathy and delay a face-to-face encounter. It could be a scam if your potential date has an extraordinary life tale.
What is Happening Nowadays When it Comes to Online Dating Scams
These are the most Common Dating Scams you will come across nowadays.
- Scam dating sites: Scam dating sites appear to be authentic, but they are either overcrowded or loaded with scammers. These websites exist just to mine your personal data.
- Photo scams: Scammers use picture scams to persuade victims to provide personal information in exchange for intimate photos of the fraudster.
- Military romance scams: The scammer will pretend to be a member of the military who is going to be deployed. They gain trust by employing military lingo and titles before requesting funds to cover military-related expenses such as trips home.
- Intimate activity scams: Scammer connects with the victim on multiple social media websites. Once they’ve gotten close enough, the scammer persuades the victim to undress before threatening them with the recordings.
- Code verification scams: Scammers impersonating a dating app or website will issue a phony verification code via email or text. When the victim clicks on it, it will prompt them to enter personal information such as their Social Security number and credit card details.
Measures To Take To Stay Clear of Online dating Scams
Unfortunately, between 2018 and 2019, romantic scams surged by roughly 40%. Romance scams, like all internet frauds, are on the rise. Scammers will fabricate a variety of false stories, promises, and emergencies to entice their victims to send them money. With the rise in popularity of dating apps and services, spotting phony profiles that are truly belonging to romance scammers can be difficult. Here are five warning indicators that you’re dealing with a romantic scam. This is an overview of a few ways to spot a romance scammer.
The scammer is quick to call it love
The romantic con artist will be eager to “fall in love” and genuinely confess their affection. Their goal is to emotionally manipulate the victim as quickly as possible before they realize they’re being duped. The scammer will frequently use words like “dear,” “darling,” and “love of my life” to entice you. They’ll blame the developing romance on fate or destiny, making the victim feel as special as possible.
Marriage proposals may be made quite rapidly by romance scammers. They may persuade their victims to marry them in order to “rescue” them from dire situations, expressing extravagant gratitude for the victim’s love and support. Be skeptical of a romance if someone you’re actively texting tries to create an intimate relationship in a short period of time.
The scammer's profile contains vague or few images across platforms
The profile images of the individual you’re messaging can also help you figure out whether they’re a romance scammer. These con artists frequently imitate others and have only one or two photos of the person they’re impersonating.
Genuine dating site members, on the other hand, frequently have many photos of themselves in various contexts, ranging from facial shots to full body photographs. On their accounts, romance fraudsters may use photos that merely show a piece of their faces. Those photographs aren’t always distinguishable from the rest of their profile.
The scammer asks for money
It’s a significant red signal that you’re being scammed if a love interest you met online asks for money before you’ve met them in person. Scammers are experts at fabricating plausible scenarios. When they beg for money, some of the most common reasons they’ll provide are:
- reimbursement of travel charges (alleging they want to come to see you in person)
- Medical bills or other unexpected expenses must be paid.
- Payment for gambling debts or other forms of debts so they can begin a fresh life with you.
The scammer wants to move to a more personal communication platform
Scammers are identified and removed from dating sites and apps using parameters set in place by the companies. As a result, scammers may try to persuade you to switch to a more private communication medium, such as texting or emailing. However, this is a gray area because even genuine love interests will wish to take their communications away from the dating site at some point.
The safest choice might be to keep communicating via the dating site or app until you meet your love interest in person. Consider it a red flag if they press you to exit the app before you’re ready.
The scammer makes plans to meet you, but an emergency comes up
To conceal their own identities, romance scammers frequently use bogus profile photographs. Romance fraudsters would frequently make promises to meet in person, even if it means going internationally, to keep you engaged and discourage you from doubting their identity.
As your meeting date approaches, however, the romance scammer will almost always claim an emergency. Their tales are frequently complex and emotive, which can be very convincing to a love-blind victim. These contrived emergencies provide them with the ideal chance to beg you for financial assistance.
Catch your Online Scammer Now with The Help of Funds Trace
Some companies can help you recover your funds. Instead of going through the hassle of finding a lawyer or waiting for police feedback, the best thing you can do is contact a funds recovery company like Funds Trace. A funds recovery firm is your ally and will walk you through the entire process. If you wait too long, you may experience anxiety and depression. In the long run, this will cause irreparable harm. As a result, you should contact a funds recovery company as soon as possible.
Hopefully, you won’t fall victim to these online dating scammers. In the worst-case situation, if you fall victim to one of these scams, there’s no reason to be concerned. Experts at firms like Funds Trace specialize in quickly and efficiently reclaiming your funds. Don’t worry about it, and enjoy your dating life!