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The FBI is advising consumers to be wary when using online dating sites after the agency saw a 70 percent annual increase in reported romance scams. Cybercriminals are reportedly using online dating sites to trick victims into sending money, providing personal and financial information, or even unknowingly acting as a money mule by relaying stolen funds.
Learn these tips for keeping yourself—and your financial s—better protected when meeting people online. Romance scams, also called confidence scams, are when a bad actor deceives a victim into believing they have a trusted relationship and then uses the relationship to persuade the victim to give money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the perpetrator.
The initial grooming phase can last for days, weeks, or even monthsand by that time, the victim may be extremely vulnerable to the scam. Techniques of romance scammers are varied and may include:. However, elderly people, women, and those who have lost a spouse are often targeted.
Fraudsters have used dating sites to find and target victims for some time, but there is a new twist on romance scams that involves international criminal networks using dating sites to recruit money mules. The victim is then asked to receive and send money from that. These bank s, the FBI says, may be used to facilitate criminal activities. Even if the is flagged and closed by the financial institution, the scammer may continue to scam the same victim by asking them to open a new or may begin grooming a new victim.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep yourself—and your financial s—better protected when meeting new people online. If you believe you have been a victim of a confidence or romance scam, the FBI recommends the following actions:. Additional Resources. A New Twist: Dating Sites Used to Recruit Money Mules Fraudsters have used dating sites to find and target victims for some time, but there is a new twist on romance scams that involves international criminal networks using dating sites to recruit money mules.
Steps to Better Protect Yourself from Romance Scams Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep yourself—and your financial s—better protected when meeting new people online. Research potential connections - Consider conducting a Google search on new contacts to make sure they are who they say they are.
For example, it could be a of fraud if the individual has no social media presenceor if they have multiple social media s, such as two Instagram s. Also consider—do they have very few friends or connections on social media, do they have few photos or only professional-looking hehots, or have they made no posts or updates? These could be potential red flags. If and when you decide to share yourconsider creating a separate and anonymous address.
In general, experts advise individuals not to give out too much personal information to another person before meeting them face-to-face. Of course, always follow best practices for staying safe when meeting an online connection face-to-face for the first time. Never send money or share financial information - The FBI advises that individuals should never send money to someone they met onlineespecially via wire transfer.
Set up a phone or video chat early on - Make it a point to have a phone conversation or video chat with new contacts early in the relationship. If the person refuses or gives elaborate excuses, it could be a scam.
Be wary of anyone claiming to be a deployed soldier - The US Department of Defense has warned about romance scams in which online predators claim to be deployed active-duty soldiers. Victims have reported being scammed on legitimate dating apps and social media sites by imposters requesting money for fake service-related needs like transportation, communications fees, processing, and medical fees. Talk to a trusted friend or family member - Talk to someone you trust about new online connections, and pay attention if they express concern.
Contact your financial institution immediately if you discover any fraudulent or suspicious activity. The FTC advises victims to report romance scams on its website ftc.Is there any dating sites that are not scams
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