Romance Scams & Online Dating Scams

The victim may be unsure as to whether they have been scammed by romance fraud, or maybe online dating and suspicious as to whether the person they have been talking to is who they say they are. They may also be embarrassed to talk to friends and family or feel ashamed to admit that their romance was not real and that they have parted with a lot of money. It may also be that they are not able to go to the Police as they have insufficient evidence. Police say that victims are targeted via online dating websites, apps, or through social media.

Anyone can fall victim to fraud, but it's important that contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud. In 2018, confidence/romance fraud was the seventh most commonly reported scam to the IC3 based on the number of complaints received, and the second costliest scam in terms of victim loss. Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.


The bank continued to engage with the customer, whilst also monitoring the customer? This showed that the customer was still trying to make payments to the suspected fraudster on numerous occasions but, despite the bank? S interventions, they could not convince the customer of the scam. The bank, having exhausted all options, submitted a Banking Protocol email referral. Ve been a victim of romance fraud, please don't feel ashamed or embarrassed - you are not alone.

“I can’t move forward from this and have lost trust,” she said. Anna was suspicious, but Tim said she could pay the money to his translator – a woman called Harriet – rather than direct to him. Anna has not been able to tell her family, saying she feels ashamed of being duped.

Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere. In short, the victim “cleans’’ the money by sending it to another bank, and it is returned to the scam artist, making it harder for the feds to track him down. Romance scammers typically have a distinct target age that they aim for the most. The age varies with each country, but in general, women in their 60’s and older are the primary victims. However, we can still look at a few reports and make a broadly educated guess.

How To Spot Online Dating Scams in 2023: Top 10 Ways, Things to Know

The scammer says they need the victim to send them money to pay for flights to visit the victim’s country. Once the scammer has built up enough of a rapport with their victim, they ask for money to help them bring the gold into the victim’s country. The scammer offers to fly to the victim’s country to prove they are genuine – so the victim sends money for the flight. It involves an email or text asking you to verify your Tinder account. The message may claim that Tinder is updating its records and asking you to verify your account.

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Try downloading any images they use and uploading them to Google image search, since many scammers steal people’s photos from the internet. The scammer manipulates or grooms the other person to gain their trust over time – ultimately so they can either ask them for money or obtain enough personal information about them to steal their identity. One of the biggest dating scams involved eight Nigerian men, who managed to defraud more than 100 victims of almost $7M. These romance scammers used false identities on online dating sites and targeted widows and divorcees worldwide. After gaining victims’ trust and establishing an emotional bond, they started to tell them sob stories about how they needed money to pay debts or taxes or cover transportation costs.

This will show you where else the photos are posted online. If they’re on other social media accounts or from magazines, you can quickly tell it’s a scam. After they’ve gained your trust, they’ll ask you for personal details, gifts, or even money. They’ll create elaborate scenarios where they need your “help” paying for their children or medical treatments or to get them out of trouble.

"Romance scams can leave customers out of love and out of pocket," added Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at trade association UK Finance. And £68m was lost to such scams in 2020, said the UK's Action Fraud - another increase on the previous year. Christine Beining, a special agent in the FBI's Houston Division, describes how scam artists use Internet sites to prey on lonely individuals to get to their money. Recently, it emerged that TSB plans to ban customers from buying cryptocurrencies amid fears there are “excessively high” fraud rates on the platforms where they are sold. Barclays, Monzo and Starling Bank have already done likewise, blocking transfers to Binance and other websites.

Be aware also that artificial intelligence can also create images of people that don’t exist at all. The key is to stop all communication, do not pay the person any money or make any further payment if you have done so already, and tell someone you can trust. For a relatively small fee, an Investigator can save you a lot of money and provide you with peace of mind.

What's more, 13% of them said they believed that using online dating sites/apps makes them more exposed to cybercrime. Most online dating sites/apps users are concerned about their safety, but over half of them won't do anything about it. A study by ESET showed that only 29% of respondents conducted basic background checks on the people they met on dating sites , although 69% of them admitted they felt concerned over their online safety. Dating sites and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are the preferred hunting ground for romance fraudsters. We've also heard from victims who told us they were targeted via LinkedIn and on the 'Words with Friends' game app. The victim is usually talked into creating a Bitcoin account to transfer money to the scammer, and once the transaction takes place, the funds obtained by the scammer can be quickly transferred again.

They might have lost their credit card, or had their bank account frozen (maybe because of too many foreign transactions – remember that they’re out of their home country right now). Some do not have these basic security features, however, leaving innocents vulnerable to scams. Her, an online dating app meant for lesbians, has had its share of problems.

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