With Valentine’s Day approaching, the FBI has warned anyone with an online dating profile to be aware of the risks that could come from romance scams. As scammers look for new targets, it’s more important than ever to be alert and stay safe when using online dating apps.
There are lots of cases of victims using online dating but ending up losing out financially, sometimes having thousands stolen from them or, in some cases, millions.
In a press release, the FBI stated: “The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear himself to the victim, and gain trust. Scammers may propose marriage and make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen. Eventually, they will ask for money.”
What are the warning signs?
The majority of online dating profiles are genuine. However, it’s important to be aware of some of the signs of scams so that dating app users can avoid being deceived.
Some red flags to look out for include:
- Someone asking for money. This is commonly done using a story to evoke sympathy, or by requesting money to pay for a trip to visit them.
- Using a stock image on their profile. You can check this by right-clicking a photograph, selecting “copy image address”, and pasting it into a web browser. If the file name ends with a stock photos site like Pexels or Getty Images, it’s a scammer.
- Asking to leave the dating app very quickly. It’s safer to continue talking on the app itself as the companies provide more protection against financial fraud.
If you’re using an online dating app, it’s important to trust your instincts – if something doesn’t seem right, you should always report it to the app to protect yourself and others. Additionally, most apps now offer enhanced verification for some profiles to check people’s identities. If this is the case, it’s best to stick to users that have gone through those checks.