Valentine’s Day is around the corner, of course. Every single person out there is trying to make sure they spend it with someone.
So here is how it usually goes. If you have been unlucky in finding love, you will definitely try to look for one via an online service like Tinder. This online dating app is great, it gives you a chance to get to know someone before you actually meet them, but things can take a wrong turn too. Maybe you found a decent looking guy you talked on Tinder and now you are exchanging calls, text messages and even instant messages. Maybe he even agreed to meet you. But something strange happens next. An urgent business expense comes so he can’t visit. Then, he starts making excuses like he needs money to help a relative, a sick friend or maybe even needs money to come visit you. That’s how the sweetheart dating scam gets you. Worst case scenario is that during the relationship, the victim is enticed to send some pictures or videos involving sexual acts and later on, they are blackmailed to pay to prevent the content from being posted online. You can’t trust everybody, particularly at the time when dating sites have become the playground of scammers who are looking for opportunities like these. Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the season for them. They are present all around the world to take advantage of the people who use dating apps or the online dating websites.
Sweetheart dating scams statistics
Sources tell that in 2016, 1500 complaints of romance scam were reported to the FBI from the Charlotte Office Agency. According to the release, the victims lost $230 million because of the tricks of the scammers. These are just the statistics of Charlotte, imagine what would be happening in other states of America! Pew Research says that one in 5 Americans between 25 and 34 years have used online dating sites. Internet romance has now become widely accepted in today’s society and no wonder online dating accounts for $2 billion industry. Scammers hence find it easier to monetize people’s search for a partner.
The most common type of sweetheart scam involves an online profile which projects the suitor as an employed and trusted fellow. The scammer first develops trust with the target and then unveils a money problem. Now there are tricks of asking money. The scammer might say he needs money to come and visit or he might say he has a sick relative. Valentine’s Day scams come in all kinds of variety. You might also come across a phony florist asking for your credit card information. The FBI reported that the most common victim of online dating scams are women over 40 who are either widowed or divorced.
Here is the list of red flags that clearly tell you are dealing with sweetheart scam:
- Quickly claiming that they are in love with you
- Refuse to meet in person
- Insist on leaving the protection of a legitimate dating site or a social media site.
- Demands to keep the relationship a secret
- Demands to send gift cards or even money overseas
- Solicits financial information or sensitive information that is personal
How to protect yourself from sweetheart scams?
To be honest, the sweetheart scams can get anyone, so you got to be careful. Here is how you can protect yourself:
- Do not let your emotions cloud your judgments. If you are using an online dating site, use common sense before sharing something. If you think emotions can take the better of use, then install XNSPY on your phone and let some friend monitor your Tinder conversations. If something seems unusual, you can always take a suggestion from someone you trust.
- Let the communication stay on the dating app/site until you trust that person. The legitimate dating sites regularly scan for potential frauds and even delete suspicious accounts.
- Ask them to meet you in person. A scammer will never agree to this. But if the person agrees, you can let your friend track your location via XNSPY, just to be sure you are safe. Meet at a public spot and let someone know where you are going.
- Never provide personal information right off the bat. This includes your educational background, work details and even home address. Ask yourself, ‘Should I be sharing this information with someone I don’t even know?’
- Look for the online presence of the person. If you can’t find them online, it means you can’t trust them.
- Last but not your least, trust your instincts. If things seem too good to true, then they probably are.
Don’t let some sweetheart scammer ruin your Valentine’s Day. Stay informed, stay safe! Happy Valentine’s Day.
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