5 warning signs your dating app is a romance scammer
February is a time of year when romance blossoms for some, but it’s also a month when scammers prey on people looking for love.
In addition to the emotional trauma of being duped by a dating scam, the financial loss for victims of dating fraud can be very significant. Figures provided by Barclays show the average loss for fraudulent claims in February last year was £29,989.
Overall, the amount lost to romance scams jumped 71% last February compared to last January, according to the bank, so it’s a good idea to be extra careful at this time of year .
Please never send money or give your personal information or bank details to anyone you haven’t met in person, especially if you haven’t spoken to them in a long time.
“At this time of year, scammers will be looking to take advantage of Valentine’s Day to prey on unsuspecting victims trying to meet someone online. They will often use a variety of scenarios to tug on your heart strings, whether it’s needing money to help a sick relative or they’re stuck somewhere and need it to get home,” explains Ross Martin, Head of Digital. security at Barclays.
It’s human nature to want to be kind and supportive if someone you think you’re related to needs help – but these are hallmark signs of a romance scam and definitely not worth the risk. Scammers can be very manipulative.
“Please never send money, or give your personal information or bank details to anyone you haven’t met in person, especially if you haven’t spoken to them in a long time, or if he’s citing a family crisis or an emergency,” Martin said. stress. “If you’re not sure what to do, always seek the advice of someone you trust, who can give you unbiased advice.”
Is your new partner or the person you’re chatting with on a dating app a romance scammer? Here are some tips from Barclays on some warning signs to look out for…
1. Is he trying to steer the conversation away from the dating site?
When connecting with people online, if something is wrong, trust your instincts. Beware of anyone who suggests moving the conversation too quickly from a dating site or social network to a more private channel, such as email or telephone.
2. Are they bombarding you with personal questions?
Do not rush to get to know someone. You don’t need to share your personal details and life story. If the other person is trying to rush you to provide information, that could be a red flag.
Remember that scammers often play on people’s emotions and target vulnerable people. It’s something they’ve been doing especially during the coronavirus shutdowns.
3. Do they exist on other websites?
Do not hesitate to check if the person you are interested in is on other social networking sites and do some research on them. If any details don’t match, you should be suspicious. Fraudsters often steal other people’s images from elsewhere online, so you can try searching online to see if the image exists elsewhere and is in fact owned by someone else.
4. Are they asking for money?
Fraudsters often make up a “gory story” to urgently need money. They may not directly ask you to pay for things, but they may force you to because they keep telling you how difficult things are.
Always keep your banking and account information private. Never send payments to someone you don’t know, especially if the reason they say they need the money is related to a family crisis or some kind of emergency, advises Barclays.
Other warning signs include people asking you to take action on their behalf, such as taking out a loan, transferring money, or sending or receiving packages.
5. Are their expressions of love “exaggerated”?
Criminals may express strong emotions and over-compliment victims. In reality, this is a tactic to gain their trust and encourage victims to divulge more personal information about themselves than they would otherwise.
Barclays says it’s wise to report unacceptable or suspicious behavior, trust your instincts and immediately stop communicating with anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable. Any suspicion can be reported to the online platform as well as to Action Fraud.
If you think you have transferred money to a fraudster, notify your bank immediately. Many banks have subscribed to the Authorized Push Payment (APP) scam code, which reimburses flawless scam victims who are tricked into transferring money to a fraudster.
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