The popular Netflix documentary “The Tinder Swindler” has cast a major light on romance scams recently. However, dating scams are much more frequent than you would think. In fact, research from the US’s Better Business Bureau suggests that as many as one in seven dating profiles are fake. These are used for dating scams which earn hundreds of millions annually worldwide with over £60 million annually in the UK alone.
Why Do Dating Scams Work?
Many people think that they would not easily fall for online dating scams; however, many perfectly normal people fall for them every day. This is because people perpetrating romance scams take precautions to seem like real, genuine people and can often trick someone who thinks they may be on the verge of finding love.
Sophisticated romance scams typically use pictures of real people swiped from online. They often have compelling back stories and will often engage in chatting with a potential victim for sometimes weeks before seeking to defraud them. This helps to sell the scam.
There are also a number of reasons that people would be predisposed to falling for dating scams. First, people are naturally good-intentioned and trusting. We don’t want to believe someone is attempting to deceive us. Additionally, things like loneliness and the desire to find that special someone – especially in the midst of the pandemic – can help bring our guards down.
How to Stop a Scammer
If you use online dating apps, it is important for you to know how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of scams. Fortunately, there are some telltale signs that will help you avoid scams. One of the major signs is if someone quickly asks you to take a conversation off of the app and to another platform. This is done to prevent detection from algorithms many dating apps use to detect and shut down scammers.
Additionally, you should protect yourself from becoming a victim of scams by never giving out money or personal information. Oftentimes, scammers will ask for personal information such as a driver’s license or passport. They will also often ask for money, typically due to an emotional financial challenge or in order to visit you. These are significant signs that you are being scammed.
Furthermore, if a potential partner online refuses to meet in real life, this is a good indication that they may be a scammer. They may cancel a date at the last minute due to an emergency or simply make excuses – often financial in nature – as to why they cannot meet up. If this sounds like suspicious behavior, it is because it is. This is a major play out of the online dating scams playbook.
However, even if a potential partner meets you in real life, some online dating scammers are adept at quickly earning trust. Even if you are having a wonderful time, be cautious of questions about finances early on. This is a sign that someone may be attempting to perpetuate a romance scam. Ultimately, a good rule of thumb is that if it feels too good to be true, it probably is.
Scam Text Report UK: An Important Tool
While knowing the signs of dating scams is important for learning how to stop a scammer, there is also another important tool for your toolbox: Scam Text Report UK. This is a tool that allows people to report messages that are potential scams – dating scams as well as others – so that they can be investigated.
Scam Text Report UK is a really easy way to help yourself and others from becoming victims of scams. When you receive a text message that you believe is a scam, simply forward that message to 7726. This works with most cellular providers. When you make a report to Scam Text Report UK, your cellular provider will investigate the message’s origin and ban the sender if it is determined to be a scam.
However, Scam Text Report UK is not the only method of addressing potential scams. You can also send a screenshot of the text message to email@example.com. Making reports is important as you can help protect yourself and others from becoming victims of scams. You can also reduce the number of scam texts that you receive.
While online dating is a great platform for meeting people, it is also a lucrative opportunity for people perpetuating dating scams. However, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of romance scams by being cautious, knowing the signs of a scammer, and reporting potential fraudulent messages to the sources above. Protect yourself by knowing how to stop a scammer while working to keep others safe from romance scams as well.