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Romance scams on online dating apps cost Americans $500 mn; just don't do this

Trying to find your love on online dating apps? Beware of romance scams! Just don't do this.

Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 00:00 IST
Americans saw an 80 percent surge in romance scams on online dating apps in 2021 from the previous year. (Pixabay)

There has been a huge surge in online dating apps romance scams! Users of Tinder, Bumble, and Facebook have suffered big losses due to these so-called romance scams. While online dating apps are a great way to find love and build relationships, but what comes free with them are romance scams! Romance scams have been there for quite some time, but the numbers have skyrocketed in 2021, as the recent report by the US Federal Trade Commission shows. These romance scammers have tricked Americans looking for love online into passing over $547 million in 2021, which is nearly 80 percent rise as compared to 2020. The report further mentions that over the last five years, Americans have reported losing around $1.3 billion in romance scams.

How do they do it? Scammers generally create a profile with a false identity but try to use an attractive picture picked up from the web. The information about themselves that they usually share is often very patchy. What you find common in such scammers is that they will always end up making some excuses to not meet you in real life. However, that is not always the case as is proved by the recent Tinder Scammer case where the man actually conned women into relationships and then tricked them out of their money too.

Many people who have been scammed say they were contacted using online dating apps. But you don't have to worry only about every contact on dating apps, as in 2021, more than a third of those who lost money to an online romance scam stated it started on Facebook or Instagram. The trick used by these scammers is to quickly navigate innocent users away from the dating site apps and establish contact via a personal number or other social media platforms. This allows them to bypass some of the safety features present on the online dating apps

These romance scammers put in a lot of effort to gain trust by weaving a web of lies with their stories to make others believe that they are in some real financial crisis and want money urgently. People who have lost money to a romance scam sometimes report giving money repeatedly because they believe they are assisting a loved one. But, it's all a lie!

Scammers adopting love as a hook to attract individuals into fake investments, especially cryptocurrencies, which was the developing trend in 2021, the report mentioned. Interestingly, the highest reported losses to romance scams were paid in cryptocurrency last year which was $139 million.

How to avoid a romance scam

Step 1:

To avoid falling victim to a romance scam, you need to be very much aware of the real intentions of people while using online dating apps. They will mostly keep their real identity secret and never reveal much. They will try to evade questions on this aspect. Therefore, you must never share your personal details either till everything has been verified.

Step 2:

Fraudsters will try to contact you on a personal number, or other social media apps instead of online dating apps. Never do that, stick to the dating apps.

Step 3:

Most importantly, never send the money to strangers- those whom you have never met in real life- no matter what.

Step 4:

Fraudsters try to plan a meeting, but then will make excuses at the last moment. If they try to do so, then this is another red flag for you.

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First Published Date: 12 Feb, 14:53 IST