Online romance scams have been prevalent since the dawn of the internet age. Each year, hundreds of thousands of individuals from all walks of life fall victim to online dating scams. In fact, the U.S. alone recently reported that their annual tally on online romance scams reached $230 million. This is a huge number considering that according to the FBI?s estimate, only 15% of online dating scams are reported. Money lost this way is seldom recovered and so, prevention is the focus. Below is a list of what you can do to protect yourself from online romance scams in 2021.
Make Sure to Stay on the Dating Site for the Initial Conversations
For people who?ve met via online dating, it is best to keep using the chat platform of the dating site for a while to avoid scammers who phish for information on messaging apps like Viber, KIK, or WhatsApp. Someone who wants to move fast to social media or asking for your phone number could have other motives.
Double Check Photos
Scammers often use fake photos which can be easily searched via google search or a reverse image search. If the same photo turns up with a different person?s name, then it is likely that you?ve been targeted for a romance scam.
Verify Where Photos Are Taken
Perpetrators of romance scams typically lie about their entire backstory. If they say that a photo was taken in a place and searching for the image turns up information that gives another location via its metadata, then that is a red flag.
Verify New Friends Via Video Chat
It is easy to use someone else?s photos so one of the easiest ways to plush out a catfish is to ask for a quick video chat via FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Skype, or any other live video chat app. Talking to them live is a sure way to at least see that you are talking to an actual person.
Scrutinize What They Say About Themselves
Details count when it comes to protecting yourself from romance scams. You can verify information such as claims of achievements, properties, and more to know if someone is just telling tall tales. You can spend a little and save yourself months to years of pain and time from getting scammed.
Be Skeptical of Text Messages
Text messages that sound too good to be true or are too well thought of can be scripts that a romance scam artist uses. You can google the contents of text messages and emails to see if they appear on any directory or if they have been plagiarized.
Verify Where Emails Come From
Do you know that you can check IP addresses via email? You can use available instructions online to do this yourself. Yes, professional scammers know how to hide their data but they slip up sometimes too.
Stay Away from Soldiers Who Are Asking for Money
Romance scam fraudsters usually pose as soldiers who are stuck abroad on a secret mission or some other reason and they say that the only person who can help is you. This is an obvious lie because someone on a secret mission wouldn?t tell any civilian in the first place.
Beware of Friend or Follower Request from People You Do Not Know
Scammers can scout you before engaging with you on another account to make you believe that you?ve found someone compatible with you.
Do Not Send Money to Online Strangers
Scammers will soon get tired if you do not give them anything. If you haven?t met someone in real life and spent quality time together, then that person is a stranger who could literally be just anyone.
If you suspect that you have been a victim of a romance scam and would like to gather information for a complaint, do not hesitate to contact our private investigators ?in your area.