FBI warns of dating app scams preying on isolated victims during the coronavirus pandemic

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and FBI officials are warning singles to avoid falling for a scam. Those scammers target people who are on online dating sites, they said. The FBI says bad guys are once again using online dating sites to build trust relationships with victims, then persuade them to send money or share personal and financial information. The FBI described the crime as being grossly underreported. Sarasota County is perceived as prime target, partly because of its wealth and partly because its median age is older than Investigators said victims tend to be older and often widowed or divorced. They are often computer literate and educated but may be emotionally vulnerable. These scams generally involve someone using fake pictures and profiles to gain your trust before tricking you into sending money electronically.

Dating app dangers: FBI warns romance scams are on the rise

We use cookies and similar technologies to recognize your repeat visits and preferences, to measure the effectiveness of campaigns, and improve our websites. For settings and more information about cookies, view our Cookie Policy. FBI expert tells the Avast Blog about fraud related to social media and dating sites, the second-costliest type of cybercrime.

According to the FBI, victims of online dating scams lost more than $82 million in the last six months of In fact, romance or “confidence” scams lead to the.

Sasha-Ann Simons. According to the FBI, romance scams result in the highest amount of financial losses to victims when compared to other internet crimes. The ideal partner turns out to be a sophisticated scam artist, and a love-struck single is left not only broken-hearted — but broke. Being scammed by a romantic interest met online is now the most common type of consumer fraud in the United States, according to the Federal Trade Commission FTC.

In , nearly 40 D. And the criminal acts go beyond city and state borders, involving networks of accomplices overseas.

FBI Warns of Cyber-Based Romance Scams

For people forced to stay home during the pandemic, an online connection can offer solace and love. But federal officials warn of a more sinister presence lurking on social media: con artists seeking to defraud vulnerable victims by posing as romantic suitors. Nearly 11, people in the U.

Singles might be using online dating sites like and apps like a supervisory special agent with the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

The FBI is advising consumers to be wary when using online dating sites after the agency saw a 70 percent annual increase in reported romance scams. Cybercriminals are reportedly using online dating sites to trick victims into sending money, providing personal and financial information, or even unknowingly acting as a money mule by relaying stolen funds. Learn these tips for keeping yourself—and your financial accounts—better protected when meeting people online.

Romance scams, also called confidence scams, are when a bad actor deceives a victim into believing they have a trusted relationship and then uses the relationship to persuade the victim to give money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the perpetrator. The initial grooming phase can last for days, weeks, or even months , and by that time, the victim may be extremely vulnerable to the scam.

Techniques of romance scammers are varied and may include:. However, elderly people, women, and those who have lost a spouse are often targeted. Fraudsters have used dating sites to find and target victims for some time, but there is a new twist on romance scams that involves international criminal networks using dating sites to recruit money mules. The victim is then asked to receive and send money from that account.

FBI warns about prevalence of online romance scams

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned Americans to be on the lookout for cyber-based romance scams. The Richmond, Virginia, branch of the FBI said criminals used the most romantic day of the year as an opportunity to con victims out of their hard-earned cash or personal data. For these heartless cyber-villains, websites and apps intended to aid people in their quest to find love are nothing more than prime hunting grounds brimming with easily exploitable victims.

To help romance seekers stay safe, the FBI issued seven guidelines to follow when looking for love online.

According to the FBI, romance scams result in the highest amount of financial losses to victims when compared to other internet crimes. In

RomanceScam tip: never provide your financial information, loan money, nor allow your bank accounts to be used for transfers of funds. If you suspect your online relationship is a scam, cease all contact immediately, FBI officials urge. Skip to content. FBI Richmond suggests taking these points into consideration to avoid becoming a victim: Only use reputable, nationally-recognized dating websites; however, be aware that scammers may be using them too.

Research photos and profiles in other online search tools and ask questions. Never provide your financial information, loan money, nor allow your bank accounts to be used for transfers of funds. Do not allow attempts to isolate you from family and friends. Do not blindly believe the stories of severe life circumstances, tragedies, family deaths, injuries, or other hardships geared at keeping your interest and concern.

FBI warns West Michigan residents to be cautious of scammers

The FBI says the crime is grossly under-reported. Romance scams are just one trick fraudsters use to victimize people — predominantly older widowed or divorced — who are targeted by criminal groups from under-developed countries such as Nigeria. The victims, for the most part, are computer literate and educated but emotionally vulnerable, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which says educating the public is its best defense.

The scammers look deeply through your personal information, sometimes on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, and study your activities. Flipping through pictures of your favorite animals, dinner and friends, they learn what triggers your emotions and how you spend your money. IRS spokesman and criminal investigator Ryan Thompson says many times a scammer is just going down the phone book making cold calls.

FBI officials are investigating scammers who use online dating to get to victims’ bank account details, airline tickets and cash.

If you thought online dating websites are on the rise, than you would be right. However, not everyone who creates a profile on these sites has honorable intentions. Most dating scams start innocently enough. Scammers contact victims via social media sites or through email, claiming common interests or a distant, mutual connection—such as an introduction at a wedding or other large gathering.

Other scam artists make their fake profiles look as appealing as possible and wait from victims to reach out and begin the conversation. Once a scammer has you hooked, the possibilities are limitless, but here are a few of the most common variations:. Fraudsters may use the name and likeness of actual soldier or create an entirely fake profile.

This Is Where You’re Most Likely to Be Catfished in the USA in 2020

Fox News Flash top headlines for August 8 are here. Check out what’s clicking on Foxnews. Dating and romance fraud is more rampant than ever.

Criminals who perpetrate online dating and romance scams use emotional to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at external link icon.

So which states have the biggest problems with catfishing—and which have the least? We looked at FBI and Census data to determine your likelihood of being scammed in romance. Catfishing usually refers to online romance scams where someone uses a fake online profile to attract victims. Still, it can also come in the form of family, friends, or business relationships. The non-western states with the highest rates of catfishing are New Hampshire, Minnesota, Florida, and Maryland.

Compared to their western counterparts, people in the Midwest and South seem better clued into the catfishing scams—or perhaps the West is better about reporting? In terms of cost per victim, the top three states could all buy a self-driving dual-motor AWD Tesla Cybertruck and still have some change left over to go on some fancy dates. Love hurts, but so does losing a bunch of money to an online scam. There are many ways a catfish can try to rob you of your money, time, or effort.

Romance scams costing Americans millions of dollars per year: FBI

Scammers often target people looking for romantic partners on dating websites, apps or social media by obtaining access to their financial or personal identifying information. When students come into her office presenting a confidence fraud concern, Adler says her staff looks at each situation on a case-by-case basis. Some things the CARE Violence Prevention and Response Program advocates can help students with includes working with local law enforcement to make police reports, accompanying people to the courthouse if they want to take out charges with the magistrate, or assisting with filing for Protective Orders.

The FBI also warned residents of romance scams, when a scammer creates a fake online identity to gain trust from a victim in a close or.

The FBI says there are some on online dating apps that are looking to scam people seeking virtual companionship during the coronavirus pandemic. ATLANTA – The coronavirus has sent more and more people to an online dating app to socialize virtually, but the FBI is warning people sophisticated criminals are looking to prey on unsuspecting victims who fall into an all-to-common and oftentimes expensive trap.

Dating apps have seen dramatic a jump in traffic. People logging on to flirt and cyber chat in the age of coronavirus. FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson says it’s the perfect storm for cybercriminals looking to cash in. And they’ve got all the tricks,” Rowson said. One of the most common tricks starts on the app with someone claiming to be of legal age. The conversation between the victim and scamster moves to text and explicit photos are sent. Cybersecurity expert Lisa Good says it’s a common racket.

Scammers target those on online dating sites, FBI says