OKLAHOMA CITY – While many people are still looking for love this Valentine’s Day, experts say you may be at risk of being scammed on several popular dating apps.
“With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, don’t let your quest for love blind you to the realities of romance scams. Online dating and social media have made it easier than ever to meet new people and find dates. Unfortunately, it has made scammers’ work simpler, too. Con artists create compelling backstories, and full-fledged identities, then trick you into falling for someone who doesn’t even exist. This form of deception is known as “catfishing.” Sometimes a catfisher is simply a lonely person hiding behind a fake persona. But often it is the first step in a phishing scheme to steal personal information or a romance scam to trick you out of money. In some cases, victims have been tricked into moving illegal money from other scams (“money mule”), which is potentially a crime,” the Better Business Bureau says.
Officials say if you are using a dating app, there are a few warning signs you might want to look out for:
- They tell you they love you quickly.
- They find excuses to avoid meeting, such as living overseas or being in the military.
- They want to talk to you outside of the dating app.
- Scammers often use good-looking photos and tales of financial success that are often too goo to be true.
- Catfishers will start talking about trust and how important it is, which is often the first step to asking for money.
- If the person claims to be from your home town but has poor spelling or grammar, or uses phrases that don’t make sense, that is a red flag.
- The scammer may hint at financial troubles or may share a sad story from their past.
In a recent Pew Research study, it is estimated that 70 percent of people will have met their significant other online by 2040.