Terry Cutler – The Ethical Hacker
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Romance scams increasing 

Romance scams continue to increase. Over 323 million people worldwide use dating apps on their mobile phones. Dating app revenues have increased every year since 2015, reaching $5.61 billion in 2021. Further, increases in usage will reach USD 11.03 billion by 2028. 

Hackers are mainly targeting those looking for love online. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, romance scammers bilked Americans out of $1 billion in 2021. Those aged 70 and up reported the highest losses.

When searching for love, the person you meet online may not be whom they say they are. If you are trying to find a love connection, watch out for these scams.

A friend that’s a perfect match

In this scenario, a scammer has a friend who is your perfect match. All it would take to connect is to text that number. The victim then texts that number to get to know them. Eventually, the friend pleads for money. Once the victims give them money, their bank account quickly depletes.

The widow scam

The hacker tells their victims a sad story about how their spouse is dying. This gains their victims’ trust. That’s when the “widow” starts asking for money. Feeling sympathetic, the victim transfers their cash. The result? Their bank accounts are drained. 

The military romance scam

It is likely a scam when someone claims they cannot use video chat or make voice calls because they are in the military. As with most scams, the hacker claims to want companionship. Eventually, the military romance scammer asks for money because of a military emergency most times.

Phishing romance scam

Phishing isn’t a new scam. Instead of sharing their self-images, scammers offer to send their targets to fake websites. They instruct their target to click one image. The bogus link directs the victim to a phoney website where malware installs on their device programmed to steal personal information.

Here are some avoidance tips

Never send any 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.

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