Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions.
This just grazes the surface of online dating scam statistics. Often, the advances start on dating sites or apps. The unfortunate truth is that all too many people have been a part of this love story that never ends in a happily ever after. Some of the proof is in these online dating scam statistics. Total reported losses to romance scams were higher than any other scam reported to the FTC in FTC, February Inthe median individual loss to a romance scam was seven times higher than the median loss across all other fraud types.
Romance scams are riskiest to people in the 55 - 64 age group. Women are more susceptible to romance scams than men. And following employment scams, romance scams are the second riskiest scam type to women. Californians were the most caught up in dating scams inwith 49, people scammed, followed by Texans, Floridians, New Yorkers, and Virginians.
How can you tell if someone is a romance scammer? Well, you probably have a sense for what's considered normal behavior online. But it might be hard to see through an online dating scam when emotions are involved. Here are some telltale s a cybercriminal may be up to more than just sweeping you off your feet.
One of the first giveaways of a romance scammer is their background. Fakers often pose as someone who is stationed abroad to create a reason for why they can't meet in person.
Some common stories include:. A legitimate dating profile usually has plenty of photos of the person in different situations, with one or two that show the person's whole body, not just part of their face. The individual might also include links to their Instagram or Facebook s. In contrast, a dating profile might be fake if the person doesn't list any details. Or maybe their interests and hobbies just about exactly match yours — the similarities might be too good to be true.
Romance scammers want to act fast before their targets catch on to their antics. For this reason, they like to gain your trust right away. Some common approaches include:. Many online dating sites offer some type of safety features and if you move your conversation off them to talk using text messages or other chat options, you lose those safety measures. Plus, the person will have your phonewhich could make it harder to cut communication. Romance scammers want to keep their identities a secret. One way to keep you from questioning their identity is to promise to come visit.
They may even have you pay for plane tickets or other travel costs. But they'll cancel at the last minute, providing an elaborate reason for why they can't see you after all. A romance scammer may ask you to send money for things like:. An alternate money scam to watch for: They may send you money! This could rope you into a "money mule" scheme, whereby the scammer asks to deposit money into your bankdistribute the funds to other people, or deliver packages. In fact, these requests could be tied to money-laundering. These are ways to get cash quickly and remain anonymous.
Plus, the transactions are hard to reverse. Once you send a little bit of money, they might even ask for more. Online dating scams can often end with victims losing money and, in some cases, even being pulled into criminal activity. Besides the financial costs, there may be emotional costs, too. You may feel heartbroken, depressed, or embarrassed after someone you trusted scammed you. Simply knowing how a romance scammer operates can help you identify and avoid one.
Remember some of the red flags and lies romance scammers tell:.
Romance scams in what you need to know plus online dating scam statistics
A few basic cybersecurity best practices can help protect you against internet scams. Consider that the more you share, the more scammers know about you — and know how to lure you. For this reason, consider keeping your online dating profiles anonymous by using different usernames on sites or even different s to protect your privacy.
Also, be careful what you make public online on social media. The internet is an incredible place for community, developing friendships, and sometimes even relationships.
For this reason, set up a phone or video chat early on in your communications with an online love interest. If they dodge the opportunity, they may be a romance scammer.
These could be used as blackmail later. In the age of social media and online dating, everyone has a digital presence waiting to be viewed. Do your homework on your cyber sweetheart by viewing their social media profiles. If their profile is pretty bare or they have no connections, take it a step further with a reverse image search to see whether their photos were used on other sites. To do this:. Google will show you the websites where the image appears online.
If it shows up on a stock photo site or seems to belong to someone else entirely, then it could be part of a scam. Don't give out your financial information, top off a cash reload card, or send gifts or money to someone you haven't met face to face. Never wire money to a stranger or pay anyone with gift cards. Especially if your other cyber half is located outside of the U.
It may be nearly impossible to recover money after you've been scammed. But reporting these incidents helps federal investigators look for commonalities and may help lead them to perpetrators. Falling in love can be great.
But before you let someone steal your heart online, keep these romance scam warning s and online dating pointers top of mind. All rights reserved. Firefox is a trademark of Mozilla Foundation. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Alexa and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.
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How to spot and avoid online dating scams
Online Scams. Security Center Online Scams Romance scams in What you need to know plus online dating scam statistics. What is a romance scam? Romance scams on the rise About half of all romance scam reports to the FTC since involve social media, usually on Facebook or Instagram. FTC, February 7. FTC, February 8.
FTC, February 9. NPR NPR Warning s: Lies romance scammers tell. Since their story is so interesting, be sure to keep a close eye on any inconsistencies in it. Their profile seems too good to be true A legitimate dating profile usually has plenty of photos of the person in different situations, with one or two that show the person's whole body, not just part of their face.
The relationship moves fast Romance scammers want to act fast before their targets catch on to their antics. Some common approaches include: They profess their love to you surprisingly quickly. They ask you to marry them. They make a promise you will see one another. They ask to move communications off of the dating site — neither of you are seeing other people anyway, right? The conversation doesn't flow or make sense. Grammar and spelling are way off. They break promises to visit Romance scammers want to keep their identities a secret.
They ask for specific payment methods Be cautious if your cyber sweetheart asks you to send them money via: wire transfer preloaded gift cards a newly-established bank in your name These are ways to get cash quickly and remain anonymous. Be aware of the warning s Simply knowing how a romance scammer operates can help you identify and avoid one.
Their profile seems too good to be true. The relationship moves fast. They break promises to visit. They claim they need money. They ask for specific payment methods.
Evaluate your online presence A few basic cybersecurity best practices can help protect you against internet scams.