May 22, 2019
As online dating has become more common, there has also been an increase in scams targeting users of online dating sites. A romance scam is a trick where someone pretends to have romantic feelings for a victim, gains their trust, and then uses that relationship to commit fraud. Usually, the crook misleads a victim online and then talks the victim into sending money, sharing personal and financial information, or laundering money for the crook.
According to FBI reports, the scams happened 18,493 times last year with a cost of $363 million. Although the victims tend to be older widowed or divorced women, the scam can happen to anyone who uses social media and dating sites.
The FBI lists the following as common warning signs for anyone active on social media and dating apps:
The FTC explains that romance scammers are hard at work wooing people on dating apps and social media. They may lift photos to create an attractive profile or even steal the identity of a real person.
The FTC lists the following as ways you can avoid romance scams:
Remember that romance fraud relies on manipulation and a willing participant. Security awareness is our best defense for any kind of social media attack. Stay aware of common scams and refuse to participate.