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6 Signs of Dating App Scams

Protect Yourself from Online Scams

Identity theft can occur through dating apps. Online dating is fun, but you should always stay vigilant. Products like IDShield, Webroot and IdentityForce can be used to protect yourself and your personal information from online scammers. Do some research and be aware of how to protect yourself from identity theft before you start meeting people online. You should also be wary of cyber blackmail, where someone threatens to reveal personal information about you unless demands are met.

Top 6 Love Scams

  1. Catfishing: In catfishing scams, individuals create fake online personas, often using stolen photos and information, to deceive others into romantic relationships. They may engage in lengthy online correspondence, gaining the victim's trust before exploiting it for financial gain or emotional manipulation.
  2. Military romance scam: Scammers impersonate military personnel deployed overseas, often claiming to be in urgent need of financial assistance for various reasons such as medical emergencies or travel expenses. They exploit the admiration and sympathy people have for military personnel to deceive victims into sending money.
  3. Online dating scams: Fraudsters create fake profiles on dating websites or social media platforms, establishing romantic relationships with unsuspecting individuals. They may request money for supposed emergencies or financial hardships, preying on the victim's emotions and trust.
  4. Sweetheart scam: In sweetheart scams, con artists manipulate victims into believing they are in a genuine romantic relationship. They may use flattery, affection, and promises of commitment to exploit the victim's emotions, ultimately tricking them into providing financial support or personal information.
  5. Inheritance scam: Scammers may claim to have received a large inheritance or financial windfall and express a desire to share it with their romantic partner. They may ask the victim to assist with fees or taxes related to accessing the inheritance, ultimately defrauding them of money.
  6. Nigerian 419 scam: Originating from Nigeria, the 419 scam involves fraudsters promising large sums of money in exchange for the victim's assistance with transferring funds out of the country. They may claim to be in love with the victim to establish trust before requesting financial assistance to cover fees or taxes associated with the supposed transaction.

1. It Seems Too Good to Be True

If you are talking to someone who you have met online through a dating app and they seem too perfect, they likely are. You should always listen to your gut instincts. It is the part of your left brain from the days when humans lived as hunter-gatherers in the wilderness and that intuition saved us from being eaten by predators or eating poisonous berries. If you are speaking to someone online and you feel anxious about them, and not in a good way, it can be a sign that you are dealing with a romance scammer.

2. They Don’t Want to Meet You in Person or Keep Making Excuses

When it comes to dating a genuine person, you will want to meet them eventually. This usually happens once you have established a connection. You should always meet someone from a dating app in a public setting to ensure your safety. As much as you may feel like you know them, it is possible they aren’t who you are expecting.

There is a term called catfishing, which means that someone pretends to be a different person online. They often upload photos of a model or actor or even someone they know and pretend to be them. When someone doesn’t want to meet you in person or keeps canceling plans, they are likely a catfish. If this happens once it is good to be wary, but if it keeps happening, then it may be time to kick them to the curb, no matter how you feel about them. If not, then hiring a private investigator is another viable option to figure out if they are who they say they are.

3. A Reverse Image Search on Google Reveals Contradictory Information

You can avoid being scammed by doing a reverse image search on Google of the photos on someone’s dating profile. If you are suspicious that someone you are speaking with isn’t who they say they are, this tool can help you get to the bottom of it. A reverse image search scans websites to see if the image exists online and can link it to other online profiles or websites.

If you perform a reverse image search and find that the profiles online don’t match what this person has told you, then it is likely they are not that person. It’s also possible that they may be lying to you about certain aspects of their life. Again, this would be a situation where you may want to hire a private investigator to see if this person is who they say they are.

4. They Profess Their Love for You Before They’ve Met You

Did they tell you they were in love with you after only a few days or weeks of chatting online? This is usually enough for those alarm bells to start ringing in your head. If they do this and it feels weird to you, it probably is.

5. They Ask You for Money

This is the romance scammer’s time to shine. Although you have not met them in person yet, they reach out to you saying that something has happened, and they need money. Maybe a family member has fallen ill, and they need help with the hospital bills. Maybe they need the money for the flight to come see you. Maybe there is a business opportunity, and they will transfer the money back with interest. These are all common senior scams. You should never transfer money to a stranger whom you have not met in person, who seems suspicious or you haven’t known for very long.

6. They Want to Send You Packages or Money

Why would it be suspicious if someone wants to send you money? Two words: money laundering. The romance scammer may have illegally printed money or stolen cash. They mail it to you and then ask you to send them a money transfer in return and you can even keep a small commission. This is exactly how criminals launder money.

They may also ask to ship you something and ask if you can forward it to a new address. They may give you the excuse that they are moving and can’t ship it directly until a certain date or that it is a surprise for a friend, and they don’t want the friend to know they shipped it.

Whatever the excuse, package reshipping is a tactic that criminals use to throw off the police when selling stolen goods. If you believe you have fallen victim to such a crime, you should contact the police and report it.

What is Cyber Blackmail?

Cyber blackmail, also known as cyber extortion, is a form of cybercrime where an individual or group threatens to reveal sensitive or private information about a person or organization unless a demand is met. This demand often involves the payment of money or other forms of extortion.

In the context of personal cybersecurity, cyber blackmail may involve threats to release compromising photos or videos, personal information, or other sensitive data unless the victim complies with the blackmailer's demands. In cases involving organizations, cyber blackmail may include threats to release confidential business information, intellectual property, or customer data unless specific demands are met, such as paying a ransom or taking certain actions.

Final Thoughts

Dating is fun and you should still put yourself out there to find true love. However, it is important to stay educated about dating app scams. You should always meet someone online in person in a public place. Never send money to someone you have never met and take things slow. Single women between the ages of 40 to 60 who are divorced, widowed or disabled are the biggest targets of romantic scammers, as senior scammers feel they can take advantage of that person’s loneliness.

Finally, always use reputable dating apps and sites. Our Time and Silver Singles are highly-rated apps for the 50-plus crowd. Bumble and eHarmony are great for a general age range and don’t forget to still have fun. Happy dating!