There’s a new way that scammers are abusing dating app users | #lovescams | #datingapps

“Free” online verification services are costing dating website and application users big time.

PHOENIX — Almost everyone has let their monthly subscription payments get out of hand now and again. But now, scammers are taking advantage of that easy oversight to target the users of dating apps and websites to take their hard-earned money.

The FBI recently warned of “free” online verification scams in which fraudsters trick unsuspecting users into signing up for recurring payments. This isn’t like your typical romance scam where the victim is wooed into sending a huge lump sum — it’s subtle, and it can open you up to even more crimes over time.

First the scammer matches with someone on a dating app or website. After hitting it off with the victim, the scammer takes the conversation off the platform to an encrypted messenger.

Saying they want to stay safe, the scammer sends the victim a link that takes them to a “free” verification website. That process claims to protect against starting a relationship with predators like sex offenders or serial killers.

Be careful, because these sites will show articles and other links that appear to legitimize the website. It’s all smoke and mirrors though.

The website will then ask the victim to provide information like their name, phone number, email address and, eventually, their credit card information.

Once that information is sent, the victim will start to see subscription fee charges to an unknown business on their monthly credit card statements.

The FBI shared the following tips to protect yourself from these kinds of scams:

  • Avoid clicking on links, downloading files, or opening attachments from someone you only met online. Only open attachments from known senders and scan all attachments for viruses, if possible.
  • Avoid moving the conversation from a reputable dating site’s messaging service, since many of these offer some safety features.
  • Report suspicious user profiles to the dating site administrator and cease all contact with suspicious users.
  • Be cautious of someone you only met online professing their love quickly, expressing a need for help, and/or enticing you with provocative pictures and text topics. Fraudsters use social behavior to deceive you and separate you from your hard-earned money.
  • Do not provide sensitive information to someone you only met online. Regularly monitor your personal financial accounts for irregularities, such as recurring charges to unknown businesses.
  • Contact your credit card issuer/bank as soon as possible if you discover what appears to be a fraudulent transaction. Explore the possibility of closing that credit card.
  • Use one credit card with a limited balance or consider using virtual credit cards when subscribing to new online services.
  • Avoid websites that use scare tactics to coerce you to register for a service. Search the source of all information to determine its legitimacy.
  • Stay updated about the latest fraud schemes by following the FBI IC3 website or other financial government websites.

The FBI requests victims report fraudulent, suspicious, or online criminal activity to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at

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