In today's modern age of online dating, scammers and fraudsters often use social engineering in order to exploit those looking for love. These fraudsters have mastered the art of feigning romantic intentions in order to gain a potential target's trust and affection.
While we have all been blinded by love at some point in our life, it is important to remember that creating a fake online profile is simple and any information available online can be easily fabricated. If anyone you met on a dating platform is asking for money, financial details or other personal credentials, this is more than likely to be a scam.
A few more red flags to be aware of
- They have asked you to send them money urgently for any reason, especially if they have asked you on multiple occasions.
- They are overseas and/or you have never met them in person.
- They make repeating excuses or promises that they do not fulfill, e.g. something always comes up, many times last minute, that prevents you from meeting in person or from communicating via a video call.
- Elaborate sob stories that invoke your empathy and require your funds to be resolved. Common scenarios are (but not limited to): A close relative or they have a medical emergency, they're facing legal issues, they don't have access to their own funds, they do not have enough money to visit you or to continue on their travels, etc. Usually, the more you question their circumstances, the more details are added to help add to the confusion.
- If they disclose false information, have inconsistencies in their stories, or refuse to disclose certain vital information to you.
- If you were explicitly advised to not disclose or lie about the nature of your relationship to others.
How you can protect yourself
- Be adamant about in your request for recent photos or a video call.
- Ask questions, take note of the stories that they tell and watch out for inconsistencies.
- Let your friends and/or family know about the relationship. If something doesn't look or sound right to an individual that you trust, be wary.