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Security & privacy

FBI warning: Avoid these romance scams that have cost victims millions

Dating apps are a common way to meet people these days. It might seem like harmless fun, but it can turn into a dangerous situation very quickly. Tap or click here to see why dating apps are a hotbed for human trafficking.

Human trafficking isn’t the only dark side of online dating. There are also tons of scammers trolling dating apps looking for their next victim to rip off.

The FBI is warning about a new trend with dating apps that recently cost victims millions of dollars. Read on to find out what’s happening and how to avoid becoming the next victim.

Here’s the backstory

Do you think that you would be savvy enough to spot a potential scam? According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), over 1,800 reports have been filed related to romance scams resulting in losses of approximately $133,400,000. And that is only for the first half of 2021.

The FBI explains that scammers will make contact through popular online dating apps. After gaining the victim’s trust, they will divulge “cryptocurrency investment or trading opportunities that will result in substantial profits.” That should always be the first sign of a scam.

But many are duped and invest a small amount of money at first. The scammer is obviously in complete control and will tell the victim that they made some profit. The crooks allow the victim to take the small profits to gain more trust. That’s when the real danger begins.

The thieves now ask for a much more significant investment. Many victims think nothing of it since they just collected a small profit and want even bigger gains. But when it’s time to collect, the scammers are nowhere to be found and your money is gone forever.

How to protect your finances

Whether you are looking for love on a dating site or a meeting app, there are some simple ways to stay safe and keep your money. Here are some tips from the FBI to stay protected:

  • Be cautious – Never send money, trade, or invest per the advice of someone you have solely met online.
  • Safeguard your status – Do not disclose your current financial status to unknown and untrusted individuals.
  • Protect sensitive information – Do not provide your banking information, Social Security number, copies of identification or passport, or any other sensitive information to anyone online or to a site you do not know is legitimate.
  • If it sounds too good to be ture – If an online investment or trading site is promoting unbelievable profits, it is most likely that — unbelievable.
  • Don’t feel rushed – Be cautious of individuals who claim to have exclusive investment opportunities and urge you to act fast.

If you or anyone you know have run into these types of scams, report it to the FBI IC3 at www.ic3.gov.

Keep reading

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Scammers are pretending to be money lenders – Red flags to watch for

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