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Romance scams in 2023 expected to explode

In 2021, 323 million people used dating apps or dating sites to meet new people. Further, over 8,000 competitive online dating sites and platforms worldwide are attracting romance scammers. With more love-seekers expected to use dating sites over the holidays, 2023 could be an explosive and profitable year for scammers. 

What is a romance scam?

Typically, a wannabe love contacts a victim using a dating app or website. The victim is generally a sad widow or a divorcee ready to start dating again, but anyone could be a victim. The new contact makes the victim believe they have fallen in love fast before capitalizing on that love and requesting money.  

Fake dating sites, photo scams, Military romance scams, undressing activity scams, code verification scams, inheritance scams, and virus scams are a few of the most popular Internet dating frauds.

How romance scams work

Soon, the person looking for love will desire to fulfil any promises they make to the fraudster. Failure is seen as a failure of one’s self-worth. 

The astute fraudster is aware of this and will start by pleading for small favours like requesting a photo through email. Once the favours begin, the fraudster will start making emotional gaslighting demands, “Please don’t let me down! I must be aware that you are with me.”

How can you identify a scammer? 

If you want to know how to tell if someone is scamming you online, here are some telltale signs.

They’re on the other side of the world

One of the first giveaways of a romance scammer is their background. Fakers often pose as someone stationed abroad to create a reason they can’t meet in person. Since their story is so interesting, keep a close eye on any inconsistencies. Some familiar stories include: 

  • They’re working on an oil rig.      
  • They’re in the military and deployed overseas.
  • They’re doctors in an international organization.
  • They’re working on a construction project far away.

Their profile seems too good to be true

A romance scammer will gain your trust right out of the gate. Some common approaches include: 

  • They profess their love to you quickly.       
  • They ask you to marry them.       
  • They make a promise you will see each other.
  • The person’s messages look like they could be copy-and-pasted into any conversation.
  • They come up with different excuses when asked to video chat.
  • They break promises to visit.

They claim they need money

The ask is an enormous flag. Beware if your online love interest asks you for money, and you haven’t even met them. They will ask you to send money via wire transfer, preloaded card gifts, or to a new bank account for:

  • Travel expenses like a plane ticket or visa.       
  • Medical expenses like surgeries.       
  • Gambling debts.       
  • Or family or personal emergencies. 

Here are some avoidance tips

  • Send no money to anyone that you meet online.
  • Don’t give anyone or any website your personal information. 
  • Insist on video chats.
  • Meet someone in-person before starting a romantic relationship. 
  • If they claim to be in the military, that’s usually a red flag.
  • Become a cyber investigator. Snoop a little!
  • Seek someone you trust for a second opinion.

Be vigilant over the holidays

Following cyber-safe best practices like monitoring and avoidance tips can help you and your family protect your family against romance scams.

To learn more about consumer concerns, you can download our mobile app, FRAUDSTER, available on Apple and Android. You can learn more at www.FraudsterApp.com.

If you’ve already downloaded the FraudsterApp, click the training icon on the home screen to learn to protect yourself.

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