Catfishing: Online Dating Scam

Scammers often prey on people looking for love online.  These scammers will manufacture an emotional connection with their victim, knowing that those emotions will cloud the victim’s judgement.  Once they’ve gained the trust of their victim they will start asking for money or asking their victim to receive money and forward it to them.  These scammers will steal money from their victims and also use their victims to launder money.  Dating sites are a great way to meet people, however, always be cautious and aware of these types of scams.

Here are some common warning signs:

  • The scammer is posing as someone who is working, volunteering or deployed over seas.
  • They have very attractive profile pictures.
  • Their profiles are often poorly written and their English isn’t very good.
  • The relationship progresses very fast.
  • They start asking for money.  Either they have a personal emergency or they are asking you to go into business with them.
  • They start asking you to take wire transfers for them under the guise that you are helping them with their business.
  • They’ll have packages sent to your address.  Some of them may be “gifts” but most they are going to ask you to forward to another country.
  • They may make plans to meet but they never seem to materialize.  On rare occasions they may actually lure you to come to them, usually over seas.  This can be very dangerous.  Beware.

 

How to Protect Yourself:

  • The first rule is never send money or give your financial information to someone you met online, particularly someone you have never met in person.
  • Do not accept and forward money for them.  If they can’t accept the money legally themselves, you facilitating it is money laundering and it’s illegal.
  • Do a reverse image search of their profile picture to see where the photo came from.  You can use these tools to look up images Google Image Search or TinEye.
  • Be very wary of sharing pictures and videos of a private nature as they may be used to blackmail you.
  • If you think you’ve been contacted by a scammer report them to the dating site.
  • If you are the victim of a crime, call the police.

 

 

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