A recent study indicates that 15 percent of American adults use online dating websites or mobile applications. As the number of people looking to meet new people online grows, so does the opportunity for fraud. Some scam artists use bogus profiles to con the people they meet out of hundreds or thousands of dollars. This leaves many victims not only embarrassed but also in financial distress. It is important for online users to be on the look-out for online dating and romance scams.
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Millions of people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, many find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money. Read about the stories romance scammers make up and learn the 1 tip for avoiding a romance scam. People reported losing more money to romance scams in the past two years than to any other fraud reported to the FTC. Romance scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps, or contact their targets through popular social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Google Hangouts. The scammers strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day. Then, they make up a story and ask for money. Scammers ask you to pay by wiring money, with reload cards, or with gift cards because they can get cash quickly and remain anonymous.
Federal Trade Commission
Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. Clues for spotting fake profiles. Example to chat privately. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad. Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging. They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but travelling or working overseas. They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come.
Threats to life, arrest or other involve demands by scammers to pay money that you supposedly owe and threats if you do not cooperate. These scams use threats designed to frighten you into handing over your money, and can even include threats to your life. Scammers will also send emails claiming you owe money for things like a speeding fine, tax office debt or unpaid bill. Scammers have been known to target vulnerable people, such as the elderly and newly arrived migrants. They will often impersonate government officials from agencies such as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Department of Human Services or Centrelink, and the Australian Federal Police. Scammers will tell you that there are problems with your immigration papers or visa status, and threaten deportation unless fees are paid to correct the errors.