The world of dating online has altered dramatically in the last decade. As dating apps continue to develop and spread among young adults for an easy match, dating scams are also on the rise targeting individuals in one swipe. There are signs of fake dating profiles that can make scams easier to identify, but some are becoming too real for an app user to spot. Romance does have a way of making everything appear beautiful, resulting in the fact that numerous people have been taken in by a romance fraud known as catfishing. A catfisher can easily create a profile using dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, etc., to victimize innocent users and their hard-earned money.
A report from Federal Trade Commission revealed a loss of $547 million to dating scams in 2021, a rise of 80% from the previous year. People also reported that some victims paid these scammers with gift cards rather than a fund transfer, and others used cryptocurrency, which costs more than any other payment method. Obtaining access to victims’ account information remained the most common means for scammers to gain funds in 2021, and most of the complaints stated funds were transmitted by credit card. Some scammers will ask their victims to open a new bank account or apply for a loan.
How Does It Work?
Have you heard of a story about a coworker whose boyfriend has been deployed in Syria and is coming home for the holidays? Does their story make you fall head over heels in love like a fairytale coming true? Con artists are out to play a role of a military man fighting for their beloved country while manufacturing a life story to win the hearts of those supporting the armed forces. Military officials in the United States warned everyone involved in online dating to exercise caution when communicating with someone claiming to be a member of the armed forces.
This kind of scam starts with fraudsters adopting the online profile of a current or former U.S. official and then using the picture of a military man found on the internet to create a bogus identity and begin scouring the web for victims. The most popular method involves criminals from other countries posing as American soldiers serving in the battle zone in other parts of the world. This gives them the excuse of not being able to do meet-ups and not being permitted to turn on their camera for video calls.
To bond with the victim and gain their trust, they will utilize psychological manipulation and emotional suffering. After establishing the relationship, thus begin their sudden need for financial help. These criminals will present a document that will serve as proof of emergency to the victim. The scammer will not stop engaging with the victim as long as they keep sending money and gaining more information that they may find helpful for their next scheme.
Reporting The Scam
Should you be aware of any of these red flags used by a military love scammer, it is imperative to break off the contact and stop sending any more money. A scammer will always find a way to find victims, and they are getting more and more knowledgeable and creative. It may be hard to accept the realities of the incident, but it is never your fault. The Federal Trade Commission is a federal agency in charge of these reports in the United States. Some government agencies handle consumer protection and will investigate once you’ve reported the crime. Contacting your local law enforcement agency to file a police report is necessary to take action against identity theft.
In conclusion, criminals are becoming more dangerous as they hone technological development to their advantage. Recognizing the red flags of a military love scammer allows you to swiftly determine whether the military man you’re interacting with is genuine or a scam. While different fraud schemes are on the rise, this doesn’t mean it is impossible for you to find genuine connections thru verified dating apps.