Scammers are using new online platforms to take advantage of their victims, with dating and romance scams making up one fifth of losses across all scams reported to Scamwatch in Around Beyond traditional online dating websites, the highest losses were from romance scams originating on Instagram and Facebook. Conventional dating platforms, such as Tinder or Match. A new trend emerging in was scammers increasingly turning to apps like Google Hangouts, or online games such as Words with Friends and Scrabble to con their victims. Scammers try to make their target fall in love with the persona they have created and quickly profess their love for the victim.
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In , the number of complaints from consumers about this type of scam exploded at Fraud. The practice exists in a legal gray area, but judging by the number of followers of some of the more popular sugar babies on social media networks, including Instagram and YouTube, there may be significant numbers of consumers looking for these types of relationships.
For example, one of the more popular sugar daddy websites, Seeking. The scammer poses as a prospective sugar daddy and nurtures a relationship, ultimately offering to pay off the credit card balance of their sugar baby victim. Once this is done, the scammer—still playing the role of sugar daddy—demands that the victim purchase gift cards such as Apple iTunes cards, Google Play cards, or Steam cards that can be redeemed remotely as a thank you to their new patron.
Too often, the sugar baby goes along with the scheme remember: their credit card account appears to have just been paid off by their generous new friend , buys the gift cards, and sends codes for the cards to their sugar daddy. Any funds deposited on the gift cards is quickly drained by the scammer. Sugar babies who refuse to buy gift cards report being met with abusive, threatening, or even black-mailing responses from the new friend and often cave to the pressure.
Unfortunately, the accounts used to pay off the credit card balances are fraudulent, and once a credit card company catches on, the recently deposited funds will disappear from the account, leaving the victim on the hook for both the original balance and the cost of the newly purchased gift cards. All of these are flags for online dating relationships of any nature, and can happen via any dating website:.
While your bank may not be able to recover lost funds, they can shut off access to compromised accounts to prevent further damage. Finally, you can help other consumers avoid this scam by filing a complaint at Fraud. We share complaints with our network of nearly law enforcement and consumer protection agency partners who can and do put fraudsters behind bars. Toggle navigation.
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AARP Rewards is here to make your next steps easy, rewarding and fun! Learn more. Fraud cases are climbing as the number of dating sites and apps — and users — grow. Today there are an estimated 25, romance scammers online worldwide, according to one cybersecurity expert. Between 5 percent and 25 percent of online daters could be fakes or scammers, says another. For example, last December the FBI busted a Chicago-based crime ring that victimized at least 11 people through online romance scams.
The alleged cybercrooks met victims through websites and apps, including Match. What these scams had in common were budding relationships that started and flourished electronically via dating websites, emails, texts and phone calls, the complaint said.
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Beyond traditional online dating websites, the highest losses were from Steam and Google Play gift cards, which totalled $ million or
We live in an age with an abundance of personal information exposed in the ether of the internet. Most of this information is disclosed voluntarily by the user, often without direct monetary cost. Social media is more prominent than ever—from old mainstays like Facebook and Twitter to newer apps like Instagram and Snapchat. There are even plenty of platforms for anybody to go and engage with niche interests, such as Pinterest and Reddit. This profile may be relatively anonymous or tied to one specific interest, or it could be a place where you simply look to express yourself in a directed fashion.
For example, you can have food and alcohol delivered to your door, catch a ride, look up reviews, or go shopping from your phone or tablet. These services provide convenience, which largely outweighs any cost to the consumer. However, there are also discernible negative effects, chiefly our weakened ability to focus.
Plastic love: How to protect your credit while online dating
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You may think you spend a lot on flowers or chocolate, but losing money in a romance scam would cost you even more. What do we mean by romance scams? Usually they want the money by wire transfer or gift card. They might claim they need it for a medical emergency or to come visit you. Romance scammers are hard at work wooing people on dating apps and social media.
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