Dating Site Fraud is a Real Problem, Says FBI
Sure, we’ve heard the catfishing stories over the years. But, according to the FBI, dating site fraud might be a more serious problem than we think.
Imagine meeting someone on Tinder only to find out when you get to the date, it’s actually your ex-girlfriend laughing at you. Or not at all the person you thought you were going on a first date with. While hilarious to some people, catfishing is a serious problem.
According to a recent FBI report, catfishing is just one of the many dangers of online dating nowadays, one of a slew of different tactics ranging from blackmail to venue promotion scams. For example, in a Tinder blackmail scam, any compromising information or data you may have shared with your match can, and will, be used against you.
Send that hottie a spicy nude? Well, she (or he, as scammers often do not reveal any accurate details about themselves) is going to send that out across social media unless you pay up – fast. You’d better hope that the d*ck pic was at least flattering and taken from a good angle.
Or, an organized group of profiles (or even a single, successful hook) might invite a bunch of people to a particular restaurant, bar, or club. Turns out that all the patrons present were also given similar stories. Hey, while you’re all here, why not enjoy some music, a drink, and maybe a meal? A cheap ploy, but seemingly effective enough to be a thing.
Catfishing is probably the most well-known dating site scam and can be as simple as the story of childish revenge or something more nefarious (and costly). Catfishing expeditions often result in con artists preying on the lonely and disenchanted and often getting away with money, expensive gifts, and even sex out of the broken-hearted and naive.
Dating site fraud or “romance fraud” has gotten so bad that the FBI has recently issued a warning to Americans taking part in the digital dating scene. As it turns out, the FBI has seen a staggering 70% increase in confidence schemes and romance scams reported to be taking place on popular dating apps.
Nearly 20,000 complaints were filed with the Bureau in this category in 2018, and the claimed financial losses related to these romance scams tallied up to a total of over $362 million.
In the “methods” section of the official FBI warning, the agency makes it pretty clear that there’s a good chance your match might be up to no good. “After establishing their victims’ trust, scammers try to convince them to send money for airfare to visit, or claim they are in trouble and need money. Victims often send money because they believe they are in a romantic relationship.”
Targeting women, the divorced or widowed, and the elderly, dating fraudsters often share stories of woe and hardship, using the empathy and kindness shown by a “kindred spirit” to gain trust – and to gain access to their bank account.
Which all just means that if you’re dating online, you have more than just what you should wear to the date to worry about. Heed the advice of America’s domestic security service and be careful in trusting those anonymous faces you meet online.
And probably think twice before handing over any money.