Love Scamming: Read this story to learn about the increasing trend of romance scams and tactics to prevent it.
Romance scam in cyberspace dating apps
Dating app fraud: Romance is a beautiful and important aspect of life. However, the tactics going on in the modern world can sometimes make it a way for fraudsters to take advantage of one’s emotions and feelings to satisfy their ulterior motives. Romance scam is one of the online frauds that is on the rise. It devastates victims both emotionally and financially. Let’s explore the topic of romance scam and understand what they are, how to spot them, and how to avoid falling for one.
What is a Romance Scam?
The word does not have any hidden meaning. A romance scam is an online fraud or a way to fool people and earn money. The fraudsters, with no interest in the person, target individuals on dating websites and social media platforms to gain their interest and trust. Once the trust-building phase has been crossed, they manipulate victims into sending money or personal information.
How Does a Romance Scam Begin?
It all begins with a simple and general conversation. Scammers first establish contact with their victims and put all their expertise into creating a persona that appears charming and appealing. They invest time in building emotional connections and making victims feel special and loved.
Clues to Identify a Romance Scam
A person looking for love or a partner, online, should be careful and recognise the warning signs. It may feel real, but you need to be extra attentive before opening the gates to your heart. Some common signs of a romance scam include:
- Overly flattering compliments
- Reluctance to meet in person
- Requests for money or financial help
- Explains ways of making payments
Common Tactics Used by Scammers
Scammers employ various tactics such as catfishing, passing flattering compliments, and discussing sob stories. They do all this to manipulate victims, both emotionally and financially. You need to understand such tactics to avoid being a victim of a romance scam.
According to a media report “About two-thirds of Indian adults (66%) have fallen victim to an online dating/romance scam and victims have lost an average of Rs 7,966.”
Source: Times of India: Government has a warning for one of the biggest online dating scams
Reporting a Romance Scam
If you suspect you are the target of a romance scam:
- Stop all communication with the scammer
- Talk to your family, friends, or anyone whom you trust
- Report it to the appropriate authorities, such as the Cyber Security Division of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Cyber and Information Security Division of Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India. Check all the contact details at meity.gov.in.
Online Dating Safety Tips
For those looking for love online, here are some valuable safety tips to help you understand the world of online dating securely. The following are some quick tips that will make you smart enough to spot a scammer.
- Verify the identity of your online contacts.
- Never send money to someone you’ve never met in person.
- Do not share your personal information or photos with a stranger on an online platform.
- Keep your conversations within the dating app or website for as long as possible. Do not share personal contact details.
- Meet your online friends in public places.
- If something feels off or too good to be true, trust your instinct.
“With the proliferation of social media and dating apps, romance scams have become an alarming global issue. India, being home to a massive population of internet users, has witnessed a surge in such scams over the past few years. Reports suggest that romance scams in India have grown exponentially, targeting vulnerable individuals who seek companionship or love online.
Common red flags to watch out for in romance scams include:
Quick professing of love: Scammers often declare love prematurely, even before meeting in person, in an attempt to establish an emotional connection swiftly. Requests for financial assistance: Scammers frequently come up with convincing stories to solicit money from their victims, such as medical emergencies, travel expenses, or investment opportunities. Inconsistencies and evasiveness: Scammers may provide inconsistent information about their personal life, job, or background. They often avoid video calls or face-to-face meetings, making excuses or claiming technical difficulties.
Romance scams have become a prevalent cybercrime in India, preying on individuals who seek love and companionship online. As technology continues to advance, it is crucial for users to remain vigilant and educated about the risks associated with online interactions. By adopting a cautious approach, safeguarding personal information, and reporting suspicious activity, individuals can contribute to curbing the rise of romance scams in India. Remember, true love does exist, but it’s essential to navigate the digital landscape with caution and awareness.”
Adv. Bhagat Singh Sharma
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