How Romance Scams Are Leading Towards Broken Hearts & Empty Bank Accounts
Most people are online trying to connect and find love hence the blow-up of the dating app industry. We are sure you are familiar with popular dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, and Bumble. But unfortunately, instead of finding a sweetheart, some individuals have found themselves deceived and defrauded by scammers.
Ask yourself, do you know of someone who has ever been on an online date? Was it a great way for them to find long-lasting love, or did it lead to their hearts being broken and wallets being empty? You can see it for yourself; as soon as Valentine’s Day approaches, millions of people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites in the hope of meeting someone. However, instead of meeting a lover, they are likely to fall into the trap of a scammer and of what is known as; dating scams. Now, what exactly is it? It is simply when a person believes they’re in a romantic relationship with someone they met online. The scammer uses the illusion of an intimate and romantic relationship to exploit the victim. Romance scammers are indeed masters of disguise.
Since when did love become so toxic? Perhaps it is the result of the growing power of digitalization. As the real world approached more towards the digital world in the coronavirus pandemic, self-seeker hackers found a chance of conducting fraudulent activities like these. According to a report, dating scams reached around £80 million, receiving almost 32000 reports in these extremely challenging times. In fact, the recent Netflix documentary “Tinder Swindler” is an excellent example of how people are vulnerable to online dating scams. It shows how easy it is for someone to get conned by an online scammer pretending to be someone else. The documentary tells the story of a scandalous man who misused the Tinder dating app in an attempt to live a luxurious life at the expense of scamming three women around Europe. With the help of dating apps, he scammed multiple women by showing off his lavish lifestyle and claiming to be the billionaire heir to an Israeli Diamond Fortune!
Want to learn more about these scams and how they work? Sit back, take a sip of coffee and continue reading!
How Does a Romance Scam Work?
Unfortunately, dating sites are no longer safe because of the infiltration of scammers on the platforms. They take advantage of the anonymity and discretion these apps provide to prey on target victims. They will use social media or email to develop a relationship with the target, often hiding their real identity. It is termed ”catfishing.” The scammer will create a fake online profile and persona, all in a bid to get you interested and strike a conversation with them. They may use a fictional name or commit identity fraud by posing as doctors, celebrities, respected military personnel, or even aid/volunteers working abroad.
So basically, it all begins with a friend request from a fake profile. Scammers put on appealing displays and begin reaching out to the victims by claiming similarities with them, shared interests, and a mutual connection, Woah. Once they have built a deeper understanding and so-called ‘relationship,’ they start asking for money. Sooner or later, they for sure do. They are extra skilled at playing with emotions, and their stories are endless, putting never-ending pressure on the victims. In fact, with the uprising of Covid 19, some people even claimed money for medical emergencies when in reality, they were doing perfectly fine. You think you are helping someone when you are just getting yourself stolen.
Photo scams are one of the most prominent examples of dating scams; here, the scammer pressures and convinces the victim to send their contact information in exchange for the intimate photos of the scammer. How low could someone get?
Online dating scams statistics depict that too many people have been in love that never ended in a ‘happily ever after’. In 2020 alone, due to covid and increased isolation periods, nearly 24000 people became victims, with almost 32000 reports. People have lost up to $304 million. Moreover, in 2021, the average individual loss was over $2400. You can lose up to millions which is a lot of money! You may think the money you lost is impossible to recover. You may feel a long-lasting emotional betrayal, but it’s okay. You are unique and worthy of love. Scammers are the masters of manipulation. They are always hiding behind masks and can go miles to ruin your lives. They can steal your video footage while video calls and blackmail you for life. In extreme cases, they can go to the extent of kidnapping later using confidential information to access your social media and bank accounts. How devastating!
If we talk more about how these work, then the story of The Tinder Swindler, as mentioned earlier, is the perfect example as many scammers today are following his approach. Just like him, scammers take their dates out on an expensive date, shower them with luxurious gifts and slowly build this ‘fake’ relationship while flying around on their private jets. However, suddenly later, they start making up stories claiming that they are in danger. According to the documentary, at one instance, Simon Leviev claimed his enemies were after him, so he needed access to someone else’s card to become untraceable. He would send photos of his bleeding bodyguard allegedly injured by his enemies to make it look genuine. Ultimately, ‘each’ of his girlfriend would receive a message from him saying that his credit card was under security threats, so she would need to open a new one for him under her name. According to the documentary and USA Today, Tinder Swindler scammed $10 million from women worldwide. One of his victims said that she lent him $40,000. Apart from this, three of the victims were defrauded with 185000, 103000, and 25000 pounds, leaving them huge debts. As per their GoFundMe accounts, they have received more than 8000 donations. It’s crazy what love can make people do!
In addition to this, romance scammers also do not keep promises. If someone just makes one excuse not to meet you, it shows how disinterested they are. They would overload you with attention, too many texts, and calls. Lastly, they would lean towards asking for things. Sometimes it starts with smaller amounts, and then the process is never-ending. Also, when it comes to declaring an intimate attachment, dating sites fraudsters move swiftly. Within one short amount of time, they might express that they adore the user because of the claim of feeling a strong connection and close relationship with them. Everything is due to the underlying deception that goes into a fake profile on dating services. That is why individuals who are already fragile and solitary are just such good options because they crave companionship. In addition to this, they only have a few photographs on their accounts, and those that do appear to be modeling or glamor generic shots. Scammers study or reside in some other nation, even though you seek individuals in your neighborhood. Numerous con artists argue to be joining the army in another country.
Lastly, scammers check and get back to some other product or webpage that you can use. Many fraudsters avoid cyberstalking in favor of more effective methods of target exploitation. It is mainly the case in online dating, wherein robot accounts are shared. When a mate offers you an URL to something like an application, tool, business, or blog that they claim you should explore, it’s usually a ruse to like you to provide banking details or install viruses. Fraudsters use it as a dating site equivalent to hacking, and it’s a common approach on hookup culture applications such as Tinder.
The Impact of Romance Scams on Victims
People who are victims of romance scams receive a double blow of devastation and pain. One comes from the apparent betrayal and the other stems from the fact they cared or loved the scammer. This category of victims has recorded the highest suicide rates, and the stories are devastating. The Global Payback is here for you and wants to help correct the wrong that has been done. One characteristic of Dating and romance scammers is how quickly they want to progress from friendship to a relationship. Within a few weeks of regular interactions, they will express their profound love and ask that you become more committed. They do this to lure you away from the dating app/website to a more private communication channel like the phone or email.
Scammers know that for their ruse to succeed, they will have to gain your interest and confidence, and they go all out to make sure they achieve their goal. So get ready to be spoiled with gifts, and compliments and they open up to you by sharing ‘personal information.’ Savvy scammers will allow their ploy to build slowly for months in what feels like the romance and intimacy of a lifetime. The scammer will then strike once you are vulnerable and they have earned your trust. They usually begin by telling you they are in need of debt and want you to assist them through cash or gifts. They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature. How is it even possible that someone is so madly in love with you within a few days and that too online? In reality, it’s nowhere close to any possibility. Therefore, if someone confesses their feelings to you after a few conversations, move away slowly. Sometimes, the person wants to leave the dating website and talk with you through text messaging. It’s a clear sign to leave them right away. Also, their messages are very poorly written; they depict no interest.
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The Lies They Tell in Their Schemes
Many of them will claim to have a personal emergency. The stories may be that they have suddenly fallen severely ill and do not have enough money to cover hospital bills or expensive surgery. A typical story is how a business has failed and now they are in deep debt. Or claims of desiring to come to visit but can’t because of lack of funds unless you lend them money to cover travel expenses. Scammers will launder money through you by asking if they could send cash through your bank account. Or send valuable items like mobile phones and laptops, then ask you to ship the goods somewhere else.
Crime and Trafficking Gangs
Some dating and romance scammers are part of international trafficking networks. There have been cases where individuals have been trafficked into drugs and criminal activities after being lured abroad. Dating or romance scams have a very high success rate because of human emotions and connections. Unfortunately, these scammers know how to use that to their advantage. Victims of romance scams experience more devastation because some of them have fallen in love with these fraudsters. So they are dealing with the loss of their money and emotional betrayal from someone they thought loved and cared for them.
Red Flags of A Romance Scam
Talking about the red flags, we recommend that you don’t send money or gifts to a romantic interest which you haven’t met face to face yet. If you believe you are the victim of a romantic scam, stop interacting with the person as soon as possible. Talk to someone you can trust about your new love interest, and pay attention if your friends or family members express concern about your new relationship. Also, check the internet for stories about the person’s job to see whether other people have heard similar tales about them. If someone’s profile photo is paired with another identity or with details that don’t match up, that’s a red flag that they’re being conned. Sometimes your friends or loved ones may also show signs of being involved in a dating scam. For example, they start showing extreme emotions and loyalty towards someone they just met. Never let go of them and follow up. Secondly, they may begin to hide away things and get self-isolated. Aggressiveness becomes a standard part of their everyday nature. Lastly, they would start to send money to people they had never even met. Look out for them.
Therefore, in a nutshell, the signs of a scam are always glaring; it is up to you to pay attention to them. Some of the prominent red flags put together are:
- They start pestering you for your phone number and start professing their love only a few days after interacting with you.
- Their profile is not consistent with who they have described themselves to be. Also, these scammers have poor English skills(both written and speech), although they claim to have obtained a higher education.
- They always refuse to be on facetime/video call with you.
- They always have an excuse as to why they cannot see you in person.
How To Protect Yourself From Romance Scams
According to a recent Forbes article, Americans lost $1 billion to romance scammers in 2021, making it the worst year for Romance Scams. Thus, it’s essential to understand that these scammers are adept at gaining people’s trust with their convincing lies and insanely plausible stories. So, we recommend everyone not to get so caught up in the new love that they forget the key signs of how to protect themselves. We have gathered some of the most basic ways of how one can help themselves. Have a look!
- Do not send money to people you do not know on the internet
- Be rational in your decisions no matter how caring and loving the person is
- If there are any inconsistencies in their stories, know that it is a scam
- If you feel pressured to send money or gifts, know it is from a desperate scammer.
- Be careful what you post and make public on your social media accounts. Your personal life shared on these platforms can help scammers better understand you.
- Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if all the details have been used elsewhere. Basically, try a reverse-image search of the profile; know that you’re trapped if the details don’t match up.
How Can The Global Payback Help You Recover Your Lost Romance Scam Funds?
Did your so-called “lover” trick you into giving them hefty amounts of cash and now they have vanished? Well, in many cases people would believe that there is no way of getting their money back, however, we have a team of trained recovery specialists awaiting your case. Report your scam today and we will collaborate with you in order to get you your money back in less than 30 days! Scammers today are the masters of manipulation. They are always hiding behind masks and can go miles to ruin our lives. For example, from stealing your video footage to blackmailing you for life, they can go to the extent of kidnapping you later using confidential information to access your social media and bank accounts. Yes, it’s true!
From the financial perspective, you can lose up to millions due to a Romance Scam, and let’s agree, that is a lot of money. You may think the money you have lost is impossible to recover because you might have never heard of us before. However, please trust us. We know you may feel a long-lasting emotional betrayal from someone you thought was your soulmate, but it’s okay. You are unique, and you are worthy of love. We know this is very sensitive and personal, but If you have ever had to go through such a situation. We at The Global Payback will do whatever we can to fight your battle. It would not only benefit you but would also provide you with steps to keep your loved ones around you safe.
If you believe that you are a victim of Romance Scams, trust us, you are not alone, and it is completely fine. We at The Global Payback share the key responsibility of recovering funds you have lost. It is our pride to build cases tailored to you and your budget. After all, you don’t want your love story to end in cybercrime because everyone deserves a happily ever after. We hope to see you soon!
1. Be cautious about sharing personal information.
2. Check their images.
3. Scan their profile for loopholes.
4. Look out for inconsistencies in their communication.
Here are signs to look out for;
1. They’re far, far away.
2. Their profile seems too good to be true.
3. The relationship moves fast.
4. They break promises to visit.
Here are some ways to identify scam text messages
1. Abnormally long numbers. If a text message is legitimate, it’s usually from a number 10 digits or less.
2. Family crisis texts. Receiving news of a family crisis is alarming.
3. Text refund. Another common text scam comes in the form of a text refund.
4. Random prizes & gifts