Dating apps have become more popular since the pandemic swept across the globe. With physical interactions out of the question for many, millions flocked to online apps to meet new people and possibly a love interest.
While caution should always be taken with these apps, the head doesn’t always think clearly when the heart is making decisions. Unfortunately, many people learned the hard way that not all potential partners should be trusted. Tap or click here to find out how a widower was conned out of his $200,000 life savings.
That’s just one example of a dating app gone wrong. There are many more. And a new report details how online daters have been swindled out of millions of dollars, leaving them with little to no recourse.
Here’s the backstory
Since dating apps are so popular, scammers are now using them to rip people off. And thieves have started using one of the oldest social engineering tricks in the book.
Scams come in many forms, but criminals need to carefully select a victim for this scheme to work. Starting conversations as any new connection would, the scammers aim to win over the victim’s trust.
Once the thief has gained trust, they ask their victim to invest in cryptocurrency. Of course, once they agree, they are directed to download fake crypto apps, which leads to handing over money they will never get back.
How the scam works
To no surprise, the crypto apps are fake. The scammers somehow also managed to dupe Apple’s Developer Enterprise program. Creating crypto apps that look like Bitcoin wallets, scammers used loopholes in the Developer Enterprise program to control the victim’s phone and clean out their wallets.
Targeting victims through dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Facebook Dating, the scammers have made off with an estimated $1.4 million.
Sophos security reports that after making significant progress with a victim, the scammer starts to mention crypto wallets. “They then try to persuade the target to install and invest in a fake cryptocurrency trading app. At first, the returns look very good but if the victim asks for their money back or tries to access the funds, they are refused, and the money is lost.”
Cryptocurrency trading and investing can be challenging for even seasoned traders. But there are some ways to protect your money and details.
- Avoid third-party app stores: Make sure that you only download apps from the official app stores.
- Stick with the pros: Don’t blindly trust someone when they tip you off to a “new” or “better” investing or trading app.
- Research first: Do your research before spending money, especially if you choose to go through an unfamiliar company.
- Keep your device updated: Always make sure that your operating system and antivirus software is updated to avoid installing malware.
Avoiding dating app scams
If you’re going to use dating apps to find love, you need to be careful and avoid falling for scams. Here are some suggestions from the FTC:
- Protect your wallet – Never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you haven’t met in person.
- Seek advice – Talk to someone you trust about this new love interest. In the excitement about what feels like a new relationship, we can be blinded to things that don’t add up. Pay attention if your friends or family are concerned.
- Take things slowly – Ask questions and look for inconsistent answers. Try a reverse-image search of the profile pictures. If they’re associated with another name, or with details that don’t match up, it’s a scam.