Valentine's Day Romance scams skyrocket! Know tips to stay safe
Romance scams are on the rise and Valentine’s Day is the prime day when these scams might come to light. Know what these scams are and what you can do to stay safe with tips from Tenable.
Valentine's Day is here and although it is a day of love, which is meant to be celebrated with your loved ones, romance scams play a spoilsport as cybercriminals prey on those looking for genuine connections and abuse trust. Reports from around the globe show a similar trend in the rise of romance scams resulting in losses in the millions. Tenable, the Exposure Management company has warned of various romance scams that people could fall prey to on Valentine's Day.
Pig butchering scams
One of the latest schemes to make headlines is "pig butchering", which targets individuals across various messaging, social networks and dating apps through wrong-number text messages and fake dating prospects. Perpetrators seek to gain the victims' trust by developing a fake relationship. The victims are made to believe in false hopes of a true relationship before they are asked to invest in an investment scheme, typically cryptocurrency, but may also include Forex or precious metals like Gold.
Adult dating websites
On dating apps, scammers will also create fake profiles to drive potential victims to external adult dating websites. These websites, which are often seeded with fake users, leverage affiliate programs to help drive traffic. As a result, scammers abuse the affiliate programs to direct victims to create accounts on these websites with valid email addresses, which earn them a modest profit between $2-4 USD. The holy grail is a premium lead, which is where a victim inputs their credit card information into these websites, which can earn a scammer anywhere between $50-100 USD per sign-up.
ChatGPT may fuel scams
Poorly constructed sentences or grammatical errors are one of the few tell-tale signs of phishing emails and dating app profiles. With the prevalence of Pig Butchering scams, ChatGPT could help fill the gap when it comes to writing more convincing profile bios for fake profiles, as it's easy to spot some fake profiles due to poorly constructed bios. It could also be used to help facilitate scripts used by dating and romance scammers when trying to convince their potential victims to part ways with their money or cryptocurrency.
What can users do if they come across a dubious account?
1. If users do come across a suspicious account, they should use the reporting tool built into the dating apps to flag these profiles so providers can remove them ASAP.
2. Don't ever give money to people on dating sites, no matter how desperate they say they need it.
3. If you're asked or pressured into participating in an investment opportunity, such as cryptocurrency or Forex by a potential dating prospect, recognize that you are being scammed and report the account and/or block the user.
4. Screenshot photos from Tinder profiles, then drag and drop them into ReverseGoogle Image Search tools like Google Image Search or Tineye to see if they're taken from an existing source. Scammers love stealing images from various websites.