Extortion scams on the Internet are rapidly evolving into more sophisticated schemes. A few years ago, cyber security groups in the USA reported the entry of ransomware scams. Today, online dating scams make up a significant percentage of the over 800 monthly online fraud reports that were filed by users in the USA during the first half of 2016.
Ransomware fraud involves the distribution of malicious software all over the Internet. This high risk program is designed to penetrate the unprotected devices of unsuspecting users. Once a device has been compromised, the system is frozen and the Web browser is locked to display a full pop-up message. This is laced with scare rhetoric to trick users into paying for rogue system security software.
This fake product is deceptively advertised to fix the problem. However, the same problem was caused by the malicious application that was developed by the same authors of the rogue product. This scheme then evolved into more sophisticated fake tech support fraud, which then mutated into online dating scams so as to expand to other user markets worldwide.
Criminal syndicates use similar tactics to perpetuate fake tech support scams. However, this fraudulent scheme is injected with a social marketing component, which is designed to produce better results for these scammers.
How this works is that unsuspecting users are tricked into calling a toll free number. This is deceptively advertised as the official tech support number of popular tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google and so on. The user is then tricked into paying for fake tech support services, which is promoted to fix the problem. Obviously, the malicious programs that caused these problems are distributed by the criminal syndicates that also operate these fake tech support centers.
Now, online dating scams are the latest iterations of these fake tech support schemes. The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) recently began to send out alerts and reminders about these Internet romance scams to American users of popular dating sites and apps. ActionFraud also reported a large number of complaints against these girlfriend scams on the Web. They also started distributing these announcements in the UK because they’re the country’s online crime reporting center.
With this, here’s a round-up of the things that you can do to quickly spot these fraudsters when you’re hanging out at your favorite online dating platforms. These tips can also help you safely avoid these online dating scams.
How to Spot & Avoid Online Dating Scams
- If something’s too good to be true, then chances are – It probably is! Keep this in mind when entertaining messages from other users in your favorite dating sites and apps. Also remember this when reviewing the details of their profiles.
After all, the first thing that these scammers do to ensure the success of their online dating scams is to identify their target victims. So, they know what you want. They know your ideal date. They know the exact things that can reel you straight into their traps!
- Lies make up the foundation of these online dating scams, just like any other fraud out there. This means keep an eye out for discrepancies between the details in the profiles of your prospect dates and the things that they tell you during your private conversations. Think about the chances of meeting in these online dating platforms an Italian guy with an Indian accent, or an American lady born in Brooklyn with an IP address somewhere in the Middle East, or a 25-year old British guy who sounds like an American guy in his late 40s. The odds are mostly stacked up against these situations.
- Fraudsters who operate these online dating scams have one primary objective, and that’s to steal your money. So, as soon as they mention anything about receiving money for them, or accepting products on their behalf, or going on a suspicious business venture with them – You’d better drop them and immediately report these scammers to the administrators of the online dating platform.
Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be able to separate the wheat from the chaff in these Internet dating platforms, so to speak. Share these tips with your family and friends, so they can also avoid these online dating scams.