We’ve all heard of well-known online scams involving cryptocurrencies or the notorious Nigerian prince email. But the average losses from these two frauds are nothing when compared to dating site scams. Amazingly, on average, only fake investment schemes are more costly to victims. A report from the Federal Trade Commission shared that in 2020 over $300 million (a 50% increase from 2019) in losses from online dating scams!
How did dating site scams originate?
You may have heard of the term “catfish” in relation to dating scams. The word is used to describe someone who uses a fake personality to trick a person into a sham relationship. In America, “Catfish: The TV Show” has become a popular program about the truth and lies surrounding online dating.
Some of the most well-known dating website scams
And there’s actually another unsavory aspect to online dating. In 2019, the US Federal Trade Commission launched a lawsuit against some of the most well-known dating sites, alleging that they created false profiles in order to lure customers in. This lawsuit reminds us that if you’re paying a fee to register, you should always check the credibility of the site, read the small print, and be sure of what you’re signing up for.
Tips to recognize scammers on dating sites
If you’re new to the scene, you may not know how to spot online dating scams. But there are certain warning signs to watch out for. Here are some of the more common tactics used by scammers:
- They have an extremely attractive profile picture (which may not be their own!).
- They hurry the relationship along and quickly suggest moving communications away from the dating website and on to texts, phone calls, or messaging apps.
- They ask you lots of personal questions, but they consciously avoid giving you any detailed information about themselves.
- They use words to flatter you and build you up, make you feel attractive, and give you a special pet name.
- Once the relationship’s established, they start asking you for financial help, often for small amounts at first, before building up to larger sums. Or they may tell you a sob story about money worries, in the hope that you’ll offer to help.
- They avoid Skype and other video calls, and never meet you in person. Any arrangements to do so are always canceled at the last moment or never come to fruition.
- They claim to be living abroad, which is why they can’t meet up or why they need money to pay for their fare to come and see you. You may not be surprised to learn that international dating scams are actually one of the most common frauds on dating sites.
A quick warning on dating app scams
That said, there are certain aspects of mobile dating apps that potentially make them riskier.
- First up is the issue of immediacy. We carry our mobile phones with us at all times, which means we may be tempted to respond to a message immediately, rather than taking the time to weigh up the consequences.
- Next, mobile apps may use GPS, making the location of one or both parties clear. Such information could potentially be used for stalking, for example.
- And finally, there’s the simple reality that the sheer popularity of apps over dating websites makes them more attractive to scammers because it gives them a greater target market.
How can you protect yourself from scams on dating sites?
To that end, we offer a discrete, confidential, and highly effective funds recovery service for people who’ve been ripped off by scammers on dating sites. Why not give us a call right now to discuss how we might be able to help you? You may be able to recover money that you thought was gone forever.