New developments have affirmed that online dating is not as benign as it may appear.
Online Dating Scams
The issue with online dating comes in the form of scams. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Americans lost a whopping amount of $143 million in 2018 to online dating fraud. Furthermore, the FTC received more than 21,000 complaints regarding this type of scam. The numbers in 2018 have surged from the ones in 2017 and past years.
Many people may be shocked to learn that online dating scams are responsible for more loss of funds than other variations of online fraud. The game is quite simple: scammers create phony profiles, use images of other individuals who are online, and forge relationships with their targets before going in for the kill.
“The kill” comes along when the scammer has lowered the guards and defenses of their target. At this point, they will seek monetary gain and usually disappear following the provision of funds. These cons often take place on dating websites and social media platforms.
The FTC provided some more in-depth details:
“Once these fraudsters have people by the heartstrings, they say they need money, often for a medical emergency or some other misfortune. They often claim to be in the military and stationed abroad, which explains why they can’t meet in person. Pretending to need help with travel costs for a long-awaited visit is another common ruse.”
Finally, the Federal Trade Commission learned that individuals between the ages of 40 and 69 are most vulnerable to this type of scam.
How to Avoid Online Dating Scams
Nobody wants to get taken to the cleaners by a scammer. However, there are certain precautions which one must take to protect themselves. First and foremost, never send money to anyone who you do not know.
People who run these type of scams are very good at what they do; although, at the end of the day, each individual has to make the decision to send the money. Don’t do it.
When dealing with online dating, one must be on their guard. A person who can never meet or video chat should automatically send up glaring red flags. Then again, with all of the traps and dangers associated with online dating, some people prefer to meet significant others in a more traditional fashion.