Tech firm warns of online dating scams, Nigerian connection

Men and women looking for prospective romantic partners online should take note of these two: Laura Cahill, who described herself as an aspiring young model living in Paris, and Britney Parkwell, who pointed to her relative youth as a year-old from sunny San Jose, California. There’s one big problem: Despite profiles that said they were seeking love online, they never existed. They were fake personas created as part of an elaborate scheme run out of Africa to con hundreds of thousands of dollars from vulnerable Americans, according to the California-based cyber-security firm Agari. A firm report details how men and women were targeted by fraudsters. Crane Hassold, the senior. In the report, researchers warn that individuals and businesses are “far more likely to be targeted by West African crime groups” than by hackers working for the Russian or North Korean governments. The online love scam reviewed by Agari was largely based in Nigeria, the report concluded. And while many unsuspecting American have likely received emails from scammers claiming to be “a Nigerian prince,” Agari’s new report focuses on a scam that is far more elaborate and believable, especially because it preys on vulnerable people searching for love, according to the report.

9 things scammers tell you

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.

Technically, online dating scams are part of what are known as If you search on “date scams,” you will find many articles, websites, and.

C hristopher Russell owned a small bar in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, but, like a lot people these days, figured he had better odds hooking up online. Russell was soon browsing rows of enticing women. Shortly after creating his account, he got an alert that one of them had viewed his profile. Her picture, however, was blurred. In order to see more details and contact her, he had to buy credits. But the experience was increasingly disappointing.

Bloggers poured over the data, estimating that of the 5. A whopping 59 percent of all online traffic — not just dating sites — is generated by bots, according to the tech analyst firm, Are You a Human. A bot. The dude hunting you down in Call of Duty? The strangers hitting you up for likes on Facebook?

Scammers and Spammers: Inside Online Dating’s Sex Bot Con Job

Thanks to online dating scams, each year thousands of Americans who are searching for love end up with nothing but a broken heart and an empty wallet. While online dating and social media sites have become increasingly popular tools to find love and friendship, they’ve unfortunately also become popular tools for fraudsters known as romance scammers. These con artists create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money.

According to the Better Business Bureau, victims in the U. Older users, in particular, are more often targeted by this type of scam — and most don’t realize they are a victim until it is too late. We also have information about how to report a dating scammer if you or someone you love has fallen victim to one.

Dating and romance scams. Most UK dating websites and chatrooms are legitimate, but fraudsters have been known to use them to steal people’s money.

Army Criminal Investigation Command CID receives hundreds of reports a month from individuals who have fallen victim to a scam perpetrated by a person impersonating a U. Soldier online. Soldier who then began asking for money for various false service-related needs. Victims of these scams can lose tens of thousands of dollars and face a slim likelihood of recovering any of it. Victims may encounter these romance scammers on a legitimate dating website or social media platform, but they are not U.

To perpetrate this scam, the scammers take on the online persona of a current or former U. Soldier, and then, using photographs of a Soldier from the internet, build a false identity to begin prowling the web for victims. The most common scheme involves criminals, often from other countries — most notably from West African countries — pretending to be U.

Soldiers serving in a combat zone or other overseas location. These crooks often present documents and other “proof” of their financial need when asking their victims to wire money to them. Such scams, when they involve dating sites, pose a unique challenge in the fight against impostors and identity thieves, because on such sites a dating profile is often required to conduct a search for fake accounts.

In addition, it is not possible to remove dating site profiles without legitimate proof of identity theft or a scam. If you suspect fraud on a dating site, take a screenshot of any advances for money or impersonations and report the account on the platform immediately. The following scams affect military members:.

When Romance Is a Scam

When Eleanor Harper found out the man she thought was in love with her, was in fact conning her for money , she felt violated. She is one of a rapidly growing number of people falling victim to romance scams , where a criminal pretends to be in a relationship with someone they have met online in order to extract money.

Senior police officers and fraud experts have criticised dating agencies and social media firms for failing to protect their customers and are calling on them to improve their identity checks. The explosion of this kind of scam will be the next area of focus in the first national police crackdown on fraud, as Telegraph Money reported last week. However, officers said it will be effective only with cooperation from private companies. Accounts with dating agencies and social media sites can be set up in less than five minutes and users are not always asked to verify their identity when applying.

In addition, it is not possible to remove dating site profiles without legitimate proof of identity theft or a scam. If you suspect fraud on a dating site, take a screenshot​.

Quickly exit this site by pressing the Escape key Escape key not available with JavaScript disabled Leave this site. Well-meaning men and women have both fallen victim to this. Find out more about dating and romance scams below. Be wary of giving out personal information on a website or chatroom. Scammers will quickly contact you, often showing you glamorous photos of themselves and gaining your trust. They want you to talk on email, text and phone, rather than through the dating site or chatroom where you met.

You must not. Likewise, never agree to keep your online relationship a secret. The circumstances may seem genuine, but you could unwittingly be laundering money, a criminal offence. They entice you to do this by offering discounts for bank transfer payments. A scammer will often use photos of accommodation copied from other sites.

Federal law enforcement describe how to avoid dating site scams

We receive many inquiries from people who have been defrauded for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars by Internet contacts they thought were their friends or loved ones. Internet con artists try to convince you to send them money. In many cases, scammers troll the Internet for victims, and spend weeks or months building a relationship.

Online Dating For The Overs. Free To Register & View Members.

Navigating the world of Internet dating can be an exciting and fun way to meet potential partners. However, you might quickly discover that some things are not what they seem on certain sites and profiles. Though it is one of the fastest-growing ways for singles to meet each other and form lasting relationships, there are definitely those who use the sites for dishonest purposes. These red flags may refer to clues that the person on the other end of a profile might be untrustworthy, or that the website itself might not be truthful about its intended purpose.

All dating websites will ask for a certain amount of information in order to match you successfully with people who will hold your interest. However, this information will generally be limited to personality details and interests rather than financial information or anything that might be useful to someone wishing to steal your identity. A popular scam involves sites that ask you to create a profile specifically to mine your information.

6 red flags for online dating scams

Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. How this scam works Warning signs Protect yourself Have you been scammed?

Thanks to online dating scams, many people searching for love end up with nothing While online dating and social media sites have become.

A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigning romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victim’s money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, or national identification numbers ; or forcing the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.

Number of cases rose from to in only two years. Romance scammers create personal profiles using stolen photographs of attractive people for the purpose of asking others to contact them. This is often known as catfishing. Communications are exchanged between the scammer and victim over a period of time until the scammer feels they have connected with the victim enough to ask for money. These requests may be for gas money, bus or airplane tickets to visit the victim, medical or education expenses.

There is usually the promise the scammer will one day join the victim in the victim’s home. The scam usually ends when the victim realizes they are being scammed or stops sending money. Criminal networks defraud lonely people around the world with false promises of love and romance. Some romance scammers seek out a victim with an obscure fetish and will make the victim think that if they pay for the scammer’s plane ticket, they will get to live out their sexual fantasy with the scammer.

Other scammers like to entice victims to perform sexual acts on webcam. They then record their victims, play back the recorded images or videos to them, and then extort money to prevent them from sending the recordings to friends, family, or employers, often discovered via social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

Looking for love online? Romance scammers steal your heart to steal your money

A failed relationship could give you a broken heart, but it shouldn’t leave you out of pocket. Scammers are drawn to dating sites because they know that the people on there are looking to make a personal connection, and they can use this to their advantage. The catfishing from the original documentary started on Facebook , but you can also be catfished on dating apps like Tinder, in chatrooms or even through fake video chats on Skype.

If you come across a fake profile you should report it to the dating site or social network wherever possible.

Dating internet sites and apps are seeing a surge in people looking for romance. The Better Business Bureau says most of us know somebody.

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.

Romance scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps, or contact their targets through popular social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Google Hangouts. The scammers strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day. Then, they make up a story and ask for money. Scammers ask you to pay by wiring money, with reload cards, or with gift cards because they can get cash quickly and remain anonymous.

They also know the transactions are almost impossible to reverse. If you paid a romance scammer with a gift card , contact the company that issued the card right away. Tell them you paid a scammer with the gift card and ask if they can refund your money. Notify the website or app where you met the scammer, too.

Internet romance scammers know what their victims are longing to hear, expert says

Over the past few years, an increasing number of singles have been turning to the digital world of online dating, social networking sites, and singles forums to find romantic partners. If popular Internet dating site, Match. Internet dating can be a great, low pressure way to meet new people and expand your social circle. However, online mingling comes with its own unique set of risks that consumers should keep in mind this February 14 th.

Here are six red flags to help detect and sidestep romance scams. Let’s leave the site: Online dating sites have the ability to monitor and boot.

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