PEER, a dating app with a non-anonymous environment, has recently disclosed their stats on scam rates. During August-October 2021 they had to remove over 15,000 unverified accounts due to safety risks. The dating service provider warns single ladies to keep their eyes open, not only their heart. Anti-fraud technologies are getting more sophisticated but criminals are getting smarter too.
Some Impacts of these scams include:
The biggest dating risk nowadays is called catfishing. This term refers to someone who sets up a fictional persona or fake identity on a dating service or social networking platform. Scammers use this method to lurk for easy financial benefits or private information. In the worst case scenario consequences can lead to blackmailing, kidnapping, and rape. Surprisingly, victims are mostly middle-aged females with a high level of education.
Action Fraud reported over £68 million lost in 2020 due to romance fraud. This year the numbers might even get worse as the dating market has been envided by a new type of scam – crypto trading and bogus investment opportunities. Criminals have already conned over £15 million by July 2021.
“Grooming” which refers to the action of building an emotional connection with someone in order to further exploit, manipulate and abuse them, typically lasts 6-8 months. This gives the scammers more than enough time to carefully develop a deep emotional bond with the victim. After some time, lonely females start to share intimate details about themselves, and since their pen pal supports all their ideas and shares pain they eventually fall in love with the scammer.
Women get double trauma – losing money and a relationship as well as feeling shame upon discovery of the love scam. It is reported that women with high levels of neuroticism, empathy and loneliness experience higher levels of distress after discovery of the scam. Even if women did not lose any assets they still face a high level of distress, self-doubt, disbelief as well as shame. Distressed condition gets worse over time if the case remains unresolved and the victim stays lonely.
Victims blame themselves. It is important to explain to them that anyone can get hunted. And whether you just have been scammed or have been single for a long time after the disappointment, it’s never too late to start a new relationship.
What to do after spotting red flags
- Analyze where you found your e-love, was it a verified account?
- Request a video call tonight
- Slow down and stop responding for a while
- Think about what personal info you may have already shared that can be used against you
- Talk to your bank and to a friend about the situation.
Get support from medical experts:
- Victim Support provides free and confidential help to victims in England and Wales. Open 24 hours.
- You can call for free The Samaritans 116 123. Open 24 hours.
- You can talk to a therapist online. It’s a fee based service.
- Since many elderly women get scammed, there is a special service Age UK, where you can ask for advice or get free, confidential help on 0800 678 1602. Open from 8am to 7pm.
Where to report the scam
- In the UK, please, contact ActionFraud
- If you are using a dating app run by a US-based company, report the scam to the US Federal Trade Commission
Scams have been happening for a long time, but nowadays more apps have devised ways to counter it. By following safety tips and being vigilant, you can still enjoy all the conveniences that dating apps bring!