What You Need to Know About Romance Scams

For crying out loud, Jon Louis was even teaching a class on fraud when he got taken in — hook, line and sinker — by the dreaded internet species known as catfish. Looking back a year or so later the scam is obvious to him, but oh my, how joyful it was to feel his heart flutter again. It seemed like a reasonable investment in a long-term relationship. Victims are commonly between the ages of 40 and 69, but those over 70 lose the greatest amount of money to the cons, the FTC reports. Be sure to protect your heart — and your money. Even the skeptical among us can, like Louis, let our eyes get too starry to see straight. And professional scammers know how to make those chemicals flow. As long as social isolation exists, some measure of danger will be there, Dodson and Van Deusen say.

How online dating catfish

Catfishing is an online con where someone assumes a new identity in order to seduce a stranger on the internet. Others do it in order to trap people into handing over money or services. The only way you can really protect yourself from these tricksters is to know the signs and catch the catfish at his or her own game. In a catfishing scam, a person on the internet will create a fake identity and try to romance or seduce their target.

More often, they are online criminals using proclamations of love to part innocent people from their money. If you meet someone on a dating website or on social media, scroll to their Facebook profile right away.

Criminals who perpetrate online dating and romance scams use emotional appeals to quickly gain their victims’ trust and then, just as quickly, exploit it.

Dating and romance scams are very destructive — both financially and emotionally. These scams also cause significant emotional harm, with many victims reporting a break down in relationships with friends and family. With the proliferation of online dating websites, forums and social media channels, these scams are moving increasingly into the online space. Online communication channels allow scammers to operate anonymously from anywhere in the world.

They can be very elaborate hoaxes, sometimes taking years to develop and run by experienced criminal syndicates. The scammer develops a strong connection with the victim before asking for money to help cover costs associated with a supposed illness, injury, family crisis, travel costs or to pursue a business or investment opportunity. There have been reports of scammers using this material to blackmail victims.

Watch out: If an online admirer asks to communicate with you outside the dating website, such as through a private email address or over the phone, watch out — they could be trying to avoid detection. If you are considering meeting in person, choose a public place and let family or friends know where you are at all times. Search: Run a Google Image search to check the authenticity of any photos provided. Report: If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

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Catfishing: Signs that your online romance is a scam

Romance is not completely dead, but the days of wining and dining a potential love interest have given way to kissy-face emojis, lurid emails and sexting. Executive Editor Elana Ashanti Jefferson is a veteran journalist and communications professional. More from this author. Top insurance workplaces for millennials in The 50 most profitable U.

Behind the mask of false online identities, scammers have taken advantage of online dating to lure people into romantic relationships for their.

To some, Alec Couros is a charismatic oil contractor from Nashville, Tennessee. To others, he’s a well-travelled civil engineer from England. After seven years and two beautiful children, his marriage ended in an amicable divorce. Or maybe his wife died. It depends on who you ask. Thousands of women, from Brazil to the United States, believe he is their one and only; star-crossed lovers brought together by fate.

For more than a decade, he has been the unwitting face of a global online “catfishing” scam. To this day, Alec isn’t sure why he or rather, his pictures were chosen — or what backstory the scammers might settle on, on any given day. But he traces it back to sometime in , when he received a “frantic call” from his then-partner, questioning why a woman they had never met was contacting him on Facebook, lamenting the end of their relationship. He initially wrote it off as a prank, but within three months, more women were coming out of the woodwork.

Alec, who lives in Canada, now estimates the number of victims to be in the thousands — most of whom matched with “him” on social networking or dating sites. Others were targeted through less detectable avenues, like the online game Words With Friends, where scammers use the benign nature of the platform to develop a rapport with victims.

Romance scams

Catfishing is a deceptive activity where a person creates a sockpuppet presence or fake identity on a social networking service , usually targeting a specific victim for abuse or fraud. Catfishing is often employed for romance scams on dating websites. The practice may be used for financial gain, to compromise a victim in some way, or simply as forms of trolling or wish fulfillment.

Catfishing media has been produced, often featuring victims who wish to identify their catfisher. Celebrities have been targeted, which has brought media attention to catfishing practices.

Don’t become victim to social media and online dating scams. – Know exactly who you’re talking to. – Catfish are predators who fake their identity to befriend.

So which states have the biggest problems with catfishing—and which have the least? We looked at FBI and Census data to determine your likelihood of being scammed in romance. Catfishing usually refers to online romance scams where someone uses a fake online profile to attract victims. Still, it can also come in the form of family, friends, or business relationships. The non-western states with the highest rates of catfishing are New Hampshire, Minnesota, Florida, and Maryland.

Compared to their western counterparts, people in the Midwest and South seem better clued into the catfishing scams—or perhaps the West is better about reporting? In terms of cost per victim, the top three states could all buy a self-driving dual-motor AWD Tesla Cybertruck and still have some change left over to go on some fancy dates. Love hurts, but so does losing a bunch of money to an online scam. There are many ways a catfish can try to rob you of your money, time, or effort.

As a result of that belief, the victim is persuaded to send money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the perpetrator or to launder money on behalf of the perpetrator. Author – Trevor Wheelwright. He lives in Salt Lake City and enjoys photography and making music in his spare time, or you can catch him on your local dance floor bustin’ a move.

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Man loses $200K in catfish online-dating scam over artwork

Read more: The abuse tactics fraudsters use to break the hearts and wallets of those looking online for love. Donovan has spoken about her case before and there are many others who have been catfished — just do a quick search of YouTube. My research on romance fraud has focused on the use of online deception to destroy both the hearts and wallets of victims worldwide.

While catfishing arguably uses the same types of deception and manipulation as romance fraud, the ultimate end goal is different. Unfortunately, there are no known statistics on the prevalence of catfishing, so the extent of this type of victimisation is largely unknown. Catfishing itself is not a crime.

Feb 11, – If an online crush asks for may be dealing with a #​Catfish! Know how to identify these online scammers often popular around.

The rapid development of Internet-based technologies has changed many aspects of our lives. One area of human communication that has been effected by technological advances is the opportunity for online romantic endeavors. The Internet has now made it possible for a person to date without ever leaving their home.

The use of Internet dating sites, social networking sites, and dating applications has enabled humans to date 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, days a year Rege, It is estimated that one in four dating relationship begin online, making the Internet the second most common way that dating couples meet Cocalis, Popular sites such as Match.

Are You Being ‘Catfished’? 7 Signs Of This Scary Online Trick

Millions of people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, many find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money. Read about the stories romance scammers make up and learn the 1 tip for avoiding a romance scam. People reported losing more money to romance scams in the past two years than to any other fraud reported to the FTC.

The term “catfish” captured the public imagination as a result of the documentary Online dating scams usually start with an attractive person initiating contact.

Earlier this year, 10 people located around the United States were arrested and charged in an organized money laundering scheme as they were attempting to wash the cash that they illegally obtained. What was strange about the scheme is how the money was obtained in the first place. It wasn’t through the trading or trafficking of illegal goods or drugs, but rather cash that was sent by unsuspecting women who thought they were building relationships with the scammers.

This type of thing happens more often than you might think. These types of schemes are known as romance scams, and while there is no shortage of scams online, few are more devastating. That makes it all the more painful when the rug is pulled out from under them and the scammers make off with their income or savings.

Many of these schemes to swindle vulnerable people looking for love originate in Nigeria, where there is a bustling underground economy of scammers who set up profiles on online dating sites and sweet talk unsuspecting victims out of their savings. Social Catfish , an online dating investigation service, shared an actual playbook provided by a member of a Nigerian dating scam ring and provided insight into how these scammers operate and what to watch out for.

According to Social Catfish marketing manager Johnny Santiago explained that most romance scams originate on dating states like Match. Romance scams have originated on other popular apps with communication tools like Words With Friends, for example.

Anatomy Of A Scam: Nigerian Romance Scammer Shares Secrets

Dating in the digital age opens up seemingly endless possibilities for finding romance. To avoid a catfish, you have to keep it REAL :. There might be plenty of fish in the sea, but how do you avoid catching a catfish?

Most victims of online dating scams don’t want to tell their stories on television. The woman who contacted us at PIX11 Investigates said she.

Romance fraud happens when someone believes they have met their perfect match through an online dating site or app, but the other person is in fact a scammer using a fake profile to build the relationship. They slowly gain your trust with a view to eventually asking you for money or obtaining enough personal details to steal your identity. It plays on the need we all have for love and companionship and many people fall victim every year.

If the scammer is successful in persuading you to lend or give them money, they will usually come back with more and more reasons for needing more. People who have fallen victim to romance scams tend to report the same pattern. If someone you know is using online dating or friendship sites and reports any of these signs, it may indicate they are being scammed…. You just have to be aware that scammers do exist, and follow some simple rules to protect yourself online:.

Revealing your full name, date of birth and home address could lead to your identity being stolen. Use reputable dating sites and keep communicating through their messaging service. Fraudsters will want you to quickly switch to text, social media or telephone so there is no evidence on the dating site of them asking you for money.

Scammers count on this fear because your knowledge is power. Informed consumers are much harder to deceive. If you tell your story to other people, you may prevent someone else from being victimised in the same way.

A Catfish Story With A Fairytale Twist Ending?! An Online Dating Story