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What is a Romance Scam?
Romance scams happen when scammers create a false online person to win the victim's love and trust. The con artist then manipulates the victim and steals from them under the guise of a loving or close relationship.
Romance scammers are professional at what they do and will appear sincere, compassionate, and believable. The majority of social networking and dating websites host con artists.
The goal of the con artist is to become friendly with the victim as soon as possible, win her favor, and acquire her trust. Scammers may make preparations to meet in person and propose marriage, but those things will never take place. They'll eventually ask for cash.
Scammers frequently claim to work in the building and construction sector and to be involved in projects outside of the United States. That makes it simpler to avoid meeting in person and makes their requests for money for an unanticipated medical expense or legal charge seem more believable.
When a stranger you met online asks for your bank account information to deposit money, they probably use it to commit other types of fraud and theft.
How Do Dating Scams Work?
Here is how dating scams typically operate −
Unaware of matching with a bogus online dating profile, the victim.
The scammer quickly wins the victim's trust, and the two stars interact.
The scammer promises to reimburse the victim and begs for money to assist them in a crisis or challenging circumstance.
Once they have your money, the scammer will never return it. Alternately, the con artist may continue to demand money until the victim stops them and recognizes what is occurring.
This fraud comes in many forms, and the "emergency stage" may involve paying for medical care, travel, or outstanding debts. They might solicit your investment in cryptocurrencies, get you to email them intimate images of yourself, or use a webcam to trick you.
The end goal, however, is usually the same − the con artist wants you to send money quickly, either by bank transfer, prepaid debit card, or through online payment processors like PayPal.
How to Avoid Romance Scammers?
An online romance fraud can target anyone, so you should know the warning signs to avoid popular dating scams.
Here are some professional suggestions for avoiding romance scams so you can date safely online −
Pick up form where you left the chat. Wait until you're ready or after meeting in person before leaving a dating website or app. It is also advised to stick with reputable, well-known companies to prevent visiting a dangerous website.
Never assume that someone is safe. Romance scammers regularly create fake identities on dating websites and apps to lure victims.
Look them up online. Verify Internet profiles by quickly searching for the person's name to see what comes up in the results.
Search for pictures. Use Google to perform a reverse image search on their profile picture and photos to determine if their images are present anyplace else with different information.
Be on your guard. Be mindful of messages that are too flattering. Run them through a search engine to determine if any romantic fraud websites list them as known scripts.
Give it some time. Look for answers that are inconsistent and ask lots of questions. You might be dealing with a con artist if someone is pressing you to make a decision right now or moves too quickly.
Obtain a second viewpoint. If you're unsure about someone, consult a friend or member of your family for guidance. You can identify scams with the use of additional eyes.
Set up a video conference or meet up in the open. It could be a romantic fraud if someone hides their face from you. If you accept a meeting, meet in a public place and stay away from foreign destinations.
Never download or click any links. Sometimes scammers send malware in conversations or keep malicious URLs in their bios. Especially if they are unrelated to your chat, avoid clicking on dubious sites.
Do not send cash. Never give money or sensitive data to someone you've never met, regardless of the scammer's claims. This includes disclosing private information or account information that might later be used to perpetrate identity theft, such as your Apple ID password. Scammers frequently employ phishing techniques.
An online dating fraud can target any person. Scammers typically prey on older persons (over 50), ladies, or those who have just lost a partner or divorced. Someone who may be fragile or lonely becomes the perfect victim of romance scammers.
The success of a romance scam depends on the victim falling for the fraud, regardless of the platform - Facebook scams, Instagram scams, or Tinder swindles. Simply put, con artists target those they believe they can influence.
Criminals thoroughly investigate their victims, searching social media for personal data. Scammers create a character that shares the same interests and values as their targets to make their profiles enticing to them.
The scammers themselves don't have a specific profile. Many con artists assert they are from Ghana, Nigeria, and other West African nations. But romance frauds can start from anywhere in the world.
How to Report These Types of Scams?
Report any suspected scams to the website, app, or social media platform where the con artist initially contacted you. Share any information that would enable them to prevent future scams, such as the profile name of the fraudster.
Contact your bank or other financial institution immediately if you believe you may have given a scammer access to your account information.
Use a privacy tool that offers you control over your online data, disables remote webcam access and malicious links, and notifies you when your data has been hacked to protect your identity and personal information.
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