Our elusive search for happiness is prime fodder for romance scammers. The FBI has put a number on this issue. The federal agency’s Internet Crime Complaint Center says losses due to online dating fraud amounted to more than $230 million in 2016.
That figure will only go up unless the public becomes aware of the dangers of dating fraud. That’s why online dating scams are among the most threatening internet scams you should know about.
To avoid these scams, look for the catfish.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the act of “catfishing” as “luring (someone) into a relationship by adopting a fictional online persona.” I know you are eager to click on “Accept” or swipe right on a Tinder profile. But hold on. First, go through this checklist of commandments to avoid online dating scams. I promise it will take just five minutes.
1. Ask The Right Questions
Scammers will ask a lot of questions in an attempt to get information out of you. It can work the other way around, too. Ask well-researched questions to verify their identity. For instance, with a TruthFinder membership, you can view their location information, and then ask about their town. You can also make up a fake factoid and see if they give you a false response.
2. Watch Their Language
Does their command over the language match their persona? A good portion of online scammers come from non-English speaking countries. So, any communication stumbles might be a red flag.
3. Take Advantage Of Technology
Turn common web tools into bloodhounds to check on your online love interest. When you are heavily invested in a future date, try a background search engine like TruthFinder. Remember, the best scammers often cover their digital tracks with well-crafted social profiles, so you might have to dig below the superficial level.
4. Read The Dating App’s Terms of Service
Data hosted on servers has a scary shelf life. Find out if the dating app or site explicitly say they will delete your data when you close your account. Data is also the currency used by the matching algorithms on these sites. That’s ripe information for advertisers and hackers.
5. Report The Scam
The best way to reduce romance scams is to nip them in the bud. You should first take proactive measures to block all contact on your end. Then, report the scammer to the Federal Trade Commision if you are in the US. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center also accepts complaints
Always trust your instincts. In the end, your common sense and gut feeling will be the firewall that can protect you. It is a heady feeling to fall in love, but do try to tiptoe toward a relationship that is healthy and safe. Just believe that old adage: “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
You have all the tools to do a quick check with a click. Use TruthFinder for a deep web search and a background report. All you need to do is hit “Search” to find all the information you need on someone and avoid a broken heart.