Online dating scams are on the rise again this year. Cybersleuth Investigations, Inc. offers the following timely tips to help consumers stay safe:
1. Delay engagement with new contacts that seem to have an excessive amount of similar interests and backgrounds. Scammers generally research their victims prior to contact and are well prepared to groom and establish relationships.
2. Scammers who target women commonly present themselves as slightly younger, widowed, and successful entrepreneurs.
3. Scammers targeting men will typically offer pictures early on and will present as much younger than their targets.
4. Scammers often use multiple identities to overcome victim resistance. For example, perpetrators may establish a female presence in order to befriend a female target.
5. Avoid discussion about income and money. Bad players will seek to confirm income and assets early in the game.
6. A typical ploy involves the scammer scheduling travel to meet the victim. Some unforeseen emergency will invariably occur which puts the visit in jeopardy. The scammer will then request for money. Never send money to an online dating partner.
7. Picture exchanges should be limited to face shots only. Never send risqué photos to others online. This particular scam is progressive, escalating from increasing levels of acceptance until the scammer is armed with a supply of photos that he can then use to threaten the victim into providing money or engaging in other activities.
8. Be wary of those who attempt to date on non-dating sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
9. Phone numbers can be spoofed. A “local” number could actually originate from anywhere, even outside the country.
10. Always keep in mind that online identities are not real until you confirm they are real.
Cybersleuth Investigations, Inc., serving the U.S. and Canada, provides investigative services involving all types of online scams. Cybersleuth investigators are master level educated cybersecurity professionals with years of governmental investigative experience.