As online dating continues to disrupt more traditional ways of meeting romantic partners, there has also been a rise in the number of online romance scams with it, leaving people with a lot more than just broken hearts. One of the most notable incidents in recent times was the case of the Tinder Swindler, where fraudster Shimon Hayut made off with more than $10 million after duping various women from around the world using the dating app. While that was pretty high-profile, there are many more fraudsters like these that operate on a smaller scale and often pass under the radar.
Obviously, all scams are inevitably about money. But arriving at that end goal often involves a lot of twists and turns – conning people of lakhs often requires plenty of convincing. Scammers pull that off by using a wide variety of methods. Take military romance scams for example, where a “soldier” after building a strong emotional connection, starts requesting money for legitimate sounding purposes such as military medical coverage or retirement planning.
Then there are crypto scams. A crypto investor in India recently was messaged by a “beautiful woman” on Twitter who also just somehow happened to be a crypto enthusiast. Sparks flew, and one thing led to another, until one day the woman sent a link that looked like an NFT airdrop. Clicking on that link drained the investor’s crypto wallet of Rs 10 lakhs.
Scams like these have grown in popularity and sophistication over the last few years. So Match Group, the parent company of Tinder, Match, Hinge and Plenty of Fish, is rolling out an awareness campaign to “educate daters and consumers on how to date safer and help stay protected against the different forms of online fraud.”
Stay on the app for as long as possible
Scammers like to immediately take a potential victim onto another platform where their profile has a lower chance of deletion. Match Group advises you to stay on the app for as long as possible until you are absolutely sure that the other party is a legit person. “If the match wants to move platforms but still does not want to meet up or video call it is a red flag,” says the company.
Use the tools available in app
It’s important to ensure that your match is photo verified to help confirm they are the person in their profile pictures. You can also set up video chats before meeting the person to confirm your match is legit. If the match declines to do either of those things, then it’s a red flag.
They’re a 10 but a crypto expert
If a love interest enjoys steering conversations to crypto investments, then they’re not just weird, they are likely trying to scam you. Reporting such interactions will help the platform disable the scammy profile as soon as possible.
They may try to emotionally blackmail you
Scammers often claim they need money for a Visa, customs fees, surgeries, family medical bills, car repairs, or plane tickets to visit. You may think you’re helping a date out, but more often than not, you may just be filling up their pockets. And once you’re done with doing that, the scammer may take off with your money.