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Fraudsters using fake online dating verification apps to scam lovers | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of people’s fears about online dating by getting them to download fake “verification” apps that allow them to steal information and money. 

The FBI published a warning on Friday about the scam, noting that it was akin to an offshoot of romance scams and pig butchering schemes that have proliferated in recent years.

Fraudsters meet victims on a dating website or app and quickly attempt to move conversations off the platform to an encrypted service. 

“Under the guise of safety, the fraudster provides a link that directs the victim to a website advertising a ‘free’ verification process to protect against establishing a relationship with predators, such as sex offenders or serial killers,” the FBI said. 

“The website displays fake articles alluding to the legitimacy of the website. The verification website prompts the victim to provide information such as their name, phone number, email address, and credit card number to complete the process.”

Once the victim puts in their information, they are redirected to another private dating site that has a monthly subscription fee. 

The goal of the scam is to get both the recurring fee issued to the victim’s card as well as the initial information entered, which is used for identity theft or sold on the dark web, according to the FBI.

The scheme is a cruel twist on pig butchering tactics that similarly attempt to get victims to trust scammers before siphoning funds in a variety of ways. As people have become aware of butchering scams globally, they have increasingly searched for ways to verify the people they meet on dating sites, exposing them to the scam platforms identified by the FBI.  

The FBI said people should avoid moving conversations away from reputable dating sites because most offer some protection and safety features. People should also be wary of anyone professing their love quickly or immediately sending provocative pictures. 

As more stories emerge of people devastated by romance scams, governments around the world have been compelled to take more concrete action. Law enforcement agencies and companies in the U.S., China and other countries have sought to disrupt scam compounds where the schemes are run and charges have been issued against those laundering the stolen funds.

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National Cyber Security