Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic online dating sites have seen a tremendous surge in memberships. People are seeking romance online since in person dating was sharply curtailed by lock downs. Naturally this proved to be an irresistible lure to scammers around the world. So much so that the FBI has recently issued a warning concerning confidence fraud which are increasingly targeting people who are looking for love online.
The surge in these types of scams have very real costs that impact those who fall victim to them in two main ways:
According to FBI statistics these scams have cost their victims more than $113 million since the start of 2021 but the financial cost is just the beginning. Since these scams are designed to play with the emotions of their victims there’s a very real emotional cost as well.
To execute the scam the scammers begin by creating fake profiles on online dating websites and begin conversing with potential matches in the dating site’s ecosystem.
Once a potential victim is on the hook and lured by the prospect of romance the scammer will invent a story about a sudden crisis. This inevitably moves the conversation to asking for money to help a sick family member or to help cover travel expenses to facilitate an in-person face to face meeting. Naturally there is no crisis and no meeting will ever take place. The entire point of the story is to try and convince the victim to part with his or her money.
In terms of protecting yourself against such scams the FIB Advisory recommends the following:
It’s excellent advice. Be sure your employees are aware of the current trend and on their guard against it.