Are you looking for love online? With the rise of dating apps and social media platforms, it’s easier than ever to connect with people from all over the world. However, not everyone has good intentions when it comes to online relationships. In fact, online romance scams have become a billion-dollar industry in 2021, leaving many victims heartbroken and financially devastated.
For this reason, the team at Upstate Private Investigators decided to explain the warning signs of an online romance scam. Keep reading to learn how to protect yourself while searching for love in cyberspace.
Online Romance Scams Resulted in $1 Billion Losses in 2021
Online romance scams have become a lucrative industry for scammers, resulting in staggering losses of over $1 billion in 2021 alone. This number represents a sharp increase from the previous year, undoubtedly prompted by the extended lockdown due to the COVID pandemic.
This type of cybercrime is of major concern even for the Federal Bureau of Investigations, which offers helpful advice as well as a quick method of reporting an online romance scam.
It is also a matter of concern for Anderson private investigators. Since they use various fake online profiles, which they delete quickly after accomplishing their goal, tracking them down and recovering financial losses is extremely difficult.
This is why it pays to be very careful even in matters of the heart. Here is the basic anatomy of an online romance scam, with all the red flags you should look out for:
Online Romance Scammers Declare Their Love Very Quickly
One of the warning signs that you might be dealing with a romance scammer is when they declare their love for you too quickly. In most cases, these scammers will tell you what you want to hear, showering you with compliments and sweet words.
They will use tactics like love bombing to make sure that you feel special and appreciated, but it’s important to keep your guard up. Remember that this person doesn’t know anything about who you are as a person, so declarations of love after just a few days or weeks of chatting online should raise some red flags.
Romance scammers often prey on vulnerable individuals who are seeking genuine connections online. They know how to manipulate emotions and create a false sense of intimacy in order to gain trust and ultimately steal money from their victims.
They Want to Move the Conversation from the Dating App to Texting or Emails
You may be on the way of becoming a victim of an online romance scam if the person you’re talking to on a dating app wants to move the conversation from the platform to texting or email. This may seem harmless at first, but it’s actually a way for scammers to hide their tracks and build a sense of intimacy.
Once they have your phone number or email address, scammers can continue communicating with you even if their dating profile gets reported and taken down. They can also send you messages outside of the dating app’s monitoring system, making it harder for them to get caught.
Another reason scammers want to move off the dating app is that they know most people are more comfortable sharing personal information via text or email than on a public forum. Scammers will use this perceived privacy as an opportunity to ask for personal details such as your full name, address, and even bank account information.
They Say That They Live or Travel Abroad
Anderson private investigators can spot an online romance scam if the person you’re talking to claims that they live or travel abroad. While it’s certainly possible for someone to work and travel abroad, scammers often use this as a way to explain why they can’t meet in person or take too long to respond.
If your online love interest frequently talks about their travels but doesn’t seem interested in hearing about your life, it could be a red flag. They may also use their supposed international lifestyle as an excuse for why they can’t video chat or make phone calls at certain times.
It’s important to remember that just because someone says they live or travel abroad doesn’t automatically mean they’re a scammer. However, if other warning signs are present along with this claim, it may be time to start questioning their intentions and doing some more investigation before moving forward with the relationship.
They Make Plans to Meet and Cancel Them Due to “Emergencies”
A romance scammer will start making plans to meet in person but soon cancel them due to emergencies. This could be a red flag that they’re not who they say they are and don’t actually have any intention of meeting up with you.
Romance scammers may use this tactic as a way to gain sympathy from their victims and make them feel sorry for them. They may claim that something unexpected has come up, such as a family emergency or sudden illness, which prevents them from following through with your plans.
At this point, it is time to start asking some tough questions. While there certainly could be legitimate reasons why someone would need to reschedule, it is better safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your heart (and wallet!) from online con artists.
They Start Asking for Money for Travel or Medical Emergencies
The final step in an online romance scam is when your new love interest starts asking for money for travel or medical emergencies. Romance scammers often use sob stories about their sick family members or unexpected travel expenses as a way to guilt-trip their victims into sending them money. They may even promise to pay you back, but in reality, they have no intention of doing so.
The most common methods of milking money out of victims are:
- Instructing you to buy gift cards (usually on Amazon, Google Play or iTunes)
- Requesting transfers via Western Union or MoneyGram
- Asking for cryptocurrency
- Requesting transfers via money transfer apps (such as PayPal., Venmo or Cash App).
If you suspect that someone may be trying to scam you, it’s important to report them immediately and cut off all contact with them.
Anderson Private Investigators Know that Anyone Can Become a Target
Online romance scams are a growing concern for many individuals seeking companionship through dating apps and websites. These scammers are often skilled at manipulating their victims into sending them money or personal information. However, by knowing the warning signs of an online romance scam and being vigilant while using dating apps, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these types of scams.
Upstate Private Investigators are experienced in digital forensics and may be able to help you if you were the victim of an online romance scam. We will work in parallel with the authorities and offer you guidance during this stressful time.
Schedule a free case review with us and let our Anderson private investigators analyze your case: 864-662-6992!