For The Love Of Money
People will go to great lengths to avoid being lonely. Understandably so, but at what cost are you willing to give up your financial security? Cybercrime has been gaining momentum all around the world, and costing a lot of unfortunate victims millions of dollars; a statistical figure that is growing exponentially by the year. Over $304 million dollars was reported stolen in 2020 by scammers using dating apps.
These types of scams are referred to as “romance scams”. Scammers prey on the vulnerability of those who are desperately looking for love, or sometimes those desperately looking for something less-than love… This works because people are much more likely to let their guard down when they feel loved or desired.
However, there is good news! Romance scams are very easily avoided by simply being aware, and keeping an eye out for red flags. If you feel that something isn’t right, or you feel that a person is being disingenuous there are a few steps to take that might save you a lot of hassle later on.
Tips For Avoiding Victimhood
She’s A Fembot!
It’s amazing how many of the profiles online are just robots. They all serve specific purposes, and some aren’t as bad as others. For instance you may encounter a bot meant to conduct harmless research for a company, or maybe in the bottom right of your screen when you have questions for a website.
On dating sites and apps, especially sex hookup apps many of these bots are designed simply to hook you in so you stay longer without getting what you came for. Though this is essentially harmless one could argue that wasting people’s time is still a crime of sorts. However, those people who have had their hard earned cash sweet-talked out of their wallets have had their time wasted as well. There are some hookup apps reviewed on VillageVoice.
You may not always be able to avoid bots completely, but if a conversation happens too quickly or seems too obviously good to be true it probably is. Back away immediately, and implement the next few steps to assess your potential scammer.
Check Them Out
You’ll be doing this anyway, and the only difference is that you have to alter your expectations while browsing the person’s alleged profile. Instead of looking through the rose-colored sunglasses you may have at first glance try putting on your “Matrix” glasses, and don’t trust anything you see until you feel certain… Sometimes even then.
Go through the pictures they have posted, and cross-reference them at the same time.
- Does one photo show them have a tattoo and the others don’t?
- Eye color match in every one?
- Are there no “normal” looking photos? Do they seem too professional too often?
- Look for other people in the photos. Recurring extras are indicative of real people.
- You might even reverse-search the photo to see if there are any others like it on the internet.
- Look for connected social media profiles and check those.
Depending on how deep into the rabbit-hole you’re willing to go you can run background checks, look into their hometown, or even check their friends lists for mutual friends. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If they are upset because you want to ensure your safety then you may want to reconsider the whole thing anyway! If they are weirded out, tell them to take it as a compliment because to you they seem too good to be true.
Watch Out For Red Flags
- Relationship moving way too fast.
- Person claims to be far away. In the military, on an oil rig, on business, etc.
- Profile is way too good to be true.
- They ask you for money for ANY reason.
- They won’t video chat or meet you. They break promises.
- Specific payment methods are requested.
Any of the above are sure signs that you’re falling victim to a scam. If you notice these signs then contact the Federal Trade Commission immediately to file a report.
The thing about these types of scams that target online communities such as sex hookup apps and dating apps is that they are constantly changing to keep the victims on their toes. You may encounter an old scam once in awhile, but most of the scams that work are the one’s no one knows about. However, there are a few to note.
“I Need Help”
These will go something like this: You like the person and they like you, but unfortunately they live in another country or in another state. You get to talking, and it moves fast before suddenly you’re both in love. How sweet!
Only now they need a plane ticket to get back home close to where you live so they can live happily ever after with you. The thing is… Western Union is no good, so they need you to deposit the money to a specific account.
You deposit the money, they stop taking your calls, it’s as simple as that.
Imagine the scenario above, only instead of a plane ticket they need an operation for their dying child… Pretty cold hearted right? Imagine if you turn them down! How cold hearted will THAT be?
So you decide to pay, because you’re a saint and no one wants a child to die. Hold up though, His Holiness, their doctor only takes payments in gift cards. LOTS of gift cards. It’s 4 A.M local time, and you’re at Wal-Mart buying every random gift card you can find so you can take them home and take pictures of them to send.
You send the pictures of the card information, and BAM… Gone off into the sunset, and you never even knew they didn’t have a kid.
It pays to be cautious! Never give anyone online money if you don’t personally know them and/or aren’t willing to lose that money! Contact the FTC in the link above if you believe you’ve been a victim of a cybercrime! STAY SAFE!