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Online dating scams: What are they, how they work and how to stay safe | #datingscams | #lovescams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating

Online dating scams are on rise in the country, especially in the metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for 2022, dating scams have surged by over 24%. In 2023 alone, financial losses due to the dating scams exceeded Rs 200 crore. Earlier this year in February, an Indian woman lost her life’s savings to cryptocurrency love scam.

While online frauds include scams like work from home scams, trading scams and more, a dating scam is a type of fraud where scammers create fake profiles on dating websites or apps to develop romantic relationships with the gullible ones. Goal of these scammers is to exploit the victim’s emotions and trust to extort money or personal information.

What is the modus operandi of a dating scam?
As mentioned above, a dating scam typically begins with fraudsters creating fake profiles on dating apps and websites. Very often, these profiles feature attractive photos, appealing descriptions to lure potential victims.

Once a contact is established with the victims, the imposter engages in frequent and intimate communication, to build trust and a sense of emotional connection with them. Thereafter, the fraudster concocts a compelling story to solicit money. Some of the common narratives include urgent medical emergencies, business opportunities, or travel expenses to meet the victim.

Money in such cases is often requested through untraceable channels such as gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency. As the money is ‘extorted’ by these fake narratives, the fraudster begins blackmailing the victim by using personal information and compromising photos shared during the relationship.

How to stay safe from dating scams?
Using these simple tips can help avoid falling victim to online scams. These are:

Cross checking the profile information
As mentioned, these profiles often have attractive photos and information to lure victims, it is therefore advisable to look for inconsistencies in their story, profile and personal details.

Stay alert
Do not fall prey to fake narratives and urgencies created by the imposters. Be cautious if your online date expresses strong emotions quickly or avoids meeting in person.

Avoid financial transactions at early stages
Do not rush into love. Take your time to know the person. Scammers often use flattery to manipulate victims and gain financial information like bank details.

Use reputable dating platforms only
In this age and time, there are multitudes of online dating apps and platforms. Stick to well-known dating platforms that have verification processes as they are more likely to have measures in place to detect and prevent scams.

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