Before We Start
Looking to find the love of your life through online dating? Do you know that your matches and love interests can actually be scammers behind the doors?
Online romance scams are leaving thousands of users with broken hearts and empty wallets.
The fraudsters make fake profiles to lure victims who are desperate to find love and initiate romantic relationships without realizing that they are getting trapped and scammed.
That is why it is extremely important for online dating and social media users to be aware of internet dating and romance scams. We will also illustrate how to protect yourself from romance scams.
- Part 1: What are the Common Types of Romance Scams?
- Part 2: How to Protect Yourself from Romance Scams?
- 1. Using Powerful Third Party App to Protect Yourself from Romance Scams
- 2. Protect Yourself via Recognizing the Signs of Romance Scams
- Part 3: Online Dating Safety Tips for Avoid Being Scammed
- Part 4: How to Report an Online Dating Scams?
What are the Common Types of Romance Scams?
Scammers and fraudsters are coming up with innovative methods to trick victims into falling in their traps and extort huge money. Here are the common types of romance scams you should be aware of.
1. Malware and Spyware Scam
A scammer, who is the potential match of the victim, sends a malicious web link in the chat. The scammer generally says that the web link contains all his/her personal details, and the victim is likely to check it out.
When the victim opens the link, malware and spyware get downloaded on the victim's phone. Malware and spyware steal personal data and photos, tap cell phone and record phone activities to get login credentials.
2. Code Verification Scams
The scammer collects the contact number or email address of the victim through their conversations. Thereafter, he sends a fake email or text message that seems to be coming from the dating platform you are using such as Tinder.
The email or text message may read like Tinder wants you to verify your account, and the victim needs to fill up personal details through the web page link provided. This is how the scammer gets personal details and even financial details and misuses them to scam the victim.
3. Military Romance Scams
In this type of online romance scam, the fraudster creates a fake dating profile of an actual soldier. There is a general sympathy and attraction of online dating users towards military personnel.
Scammers take advantage of this sympathetic behavior of the victims and take for a donation through a phishing website. This is how the victim's financial details get stolen and the bank account gets empty.
4. Adult Activity Scams
The scammer starts having a sweet conversation with the victim to gain his/her trust. Then he asks for a video chat, and when the victim agrees and starts the video chat, the fraudster says that his webcam is broken, but his audio is good. The scammer then showers all the praises of how the victim looks.
As the video chat progresses, the fraudster asks the victim to partially undress or perform some adult acts which are quite common in online dating these days.
Thereafter, the scammer reveals that the intimate act is recorded and blackmails the victim into extorting money in exchange for the recorded video.
Catfishing refers to the act of creating a fictional persona to target a specific group of victims with certain dating preferences. The victims are always interested in such fictional persona as the fake profile matches all their preferences and seems to be an ideal person to date.
Once the scammer detects that the victims are head over heels, he starts asking for personal details and intimate photos. Besides, he sends phishing pages to get financial details and online account credentials easily.
How to Protect Yourself from Romance Scams?
When you use social media and online dating sites for finding friends and matches, you are very likely to come across scammers.
Here are the steps you need to take to avoid internet dating and romance scams.
1. Using Powerful Third Party App to Protect Yourself from Romance Scams
We recommend you install the ClevGuard Anti-Spy app to protect yourself from romance scams. Here are all the features the ClevGuard app offers for complete protection.
Key Features of ClevGuard:
Scan and Remove Malware Completely
Scammers cleverly deploy malware and spyware on the victim's phone as we have discussed in the malware scams.
ClevGuard app lets you scan your phone and help you find hidden spy app or malware which is present on your phone. After scanning, you can remove all spyware instantly with a single tap to protect you from romance scams.
Scammers are coming up with innovative ways to deploy spy apps and malicious files on the target person's phone. It is very important to detect them early so that the romance fraudsters do not get any of the victim's personal or financial details.
Therefore, the ClevGuard app offers real-time protection through which it monitors your phone downloads and alerts you as soon it detects any malicious files or apps getting downloaded.
Check Email Breach
ClevGuard app lets you check if your email account username and password were leaked in any data breach incident. Data breach incidents are quite common due to dating and social media sites collecting user data and selling them to third parties.
Therefore, go for a routine check and take the steps the app recommends to strengthen your email account's security.
Phone Microphone and Camera Protection
There are some wicked romance scammers that make their victims install certain malicious apps that disguise themselves as normal apps.
But they give the fraudsters remote turn on the victim's phone camera and microphone so that they can listen to victim conversation as well as monitor their physical activities in real-time.
ClevGuard Anti-Spy app detects if any app access phone's cam and mic for spying purposes and notifies the user to take action immediately.
Junk Files Clear
You can also delete junk files on your phone using the app. You can delete all the junk files at once as well as selectively after reviewing them. This will free up storage space on your phone and boost the performance of your phone.
How to SafeGuard Yourself with ClevGuard?
Here are the steps you have to take to install the ClevGuard app and safeguard yourself from romance scams.
Step 1. Install ClevGuard on Your Phone
Click "Google Play" button below, and then you can start installing ClevGuard on your phone.
Step 2. Detect Any Malware Threat
Launch ClevGuard and tap on the "Scan" button to scan your phone. Wait for the scanning process to get over and see if there is any romance scam threat on your phone.
Step 3. Protect Yourself from Romance Scams
After the scanning process is done, you will see if there is any romance scam threat on your phone by viewing the scanning report.
If yes, you can tap on the "Resolve All" button to delete them immediately which can keep you away from romance scams.
2. Protect Yourself via Recognizing the Signs of Romance Scams
It is extremely important for persons interested in online dating to be aware of the signs of romance scams. This is going to help them to spot internet dating and romance scams easily whenever they come across scammers with fictional personas.
Common Signs of the Romance Scams:
- Asking You to Move Chat off the Dating Site
- Ask You too Many Questions
- Fall for You Immediately
- Ask You for Money
- They Ask You to do Things on Their Behalf
- Romance Scammers Plan to Visit, but They always Cancel Because of Some "Emergency."
- If you are a US citizen, you can report to the FBI's Internet Crime Complain Center.
- If you are a UK citizen, you can report to National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.
- If you are an Australian citizen, you can report to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
If your match asks for your email address or phone number too quickly for further communication, it is a warning sign. There is nothing wrong with carrying on the conversation off the dating site eventually, but you should ask yourself if your match is insisting on you too early.
It is not wise to share your regular email address to which your online accounts or bank accounts are connected. Similarly, instead of sharing your phone number, you should share instant messaging IDs for messaging and calls.
It is very likely for a disguised scammer to ask you too many questions to extract your personal information. You may think that it is usual, but too many questions should make your feel uncomfortable.
You should wait till your first physical meeting before giving in all your personal details. Otherwise, the fraudster can misuse your personal details against you to scam you through identity theft and others.
If your match falls for you immediately, it sounds unnatural, and you should be skeptical from the very beginning. A scammer pretends to be head over heels with his victim so that the victim falls for him too.
It becomes easy for the fraudster to make the victim do anything when the victim becomes interested in his match too.
The ultimate goal of romance scams online dating is to extract money from the victims. Different fraudsters use different methods to ask the victim for money. Some ask you to make a donation for a noble cause and share a phishing link to make payment. That is how they get your financial details.
Some ask for a loan and pretend to be in an emergency situation, requesting your monetary help to get out of it. You should block such matches immediately because even if your match is not a scammer, he/she is a gold digger.
Romance scammers want to get something very personal for the victims by using which they can extort money. Your match may ask you to do a sensual dance, get undressed on a webcam, or send adult photos.
These things are quite common these days in online dating. Still, you should stay away from doing anything personal and awkward without meeting your match in person.
The most prominent warning of you being in a romance scam is that your match will come up with an emergency situation whenever you plan to visit him/her in person.
If your match cancels the meeting, you should arrange another as soon as possible. If the same emergency excuses continue, you should block the person and move on.
Online Dating Safety Tips for Avoid Being Scammed
Now that you are aware of the types of online dating scams and the way of protecting yourself from romance scams.
However, we hope that you could get full protection from romance scams, here we have listed the extra safety tips that you should also keep in mind when you find your date online.
1. Don't Share Your Personal Details
Never share your personal details with a stranger online until you meet the stranger in person. Personal details include your home address, your regular email address, phone number, date of birth, and various such data.
This is because the scammer can use your personal data for identity theft and pretend to be you on social media platforms. They can send your friends inappropriate messages and photos to ruin your reputation.
2. Don't Transfer Your Money to Others
Never send your match any money to your match, no matter how grave the situation the person says to be in. Fraudsters take advantage of the emotional side of their victims and make a complete fool of them by extracting their money.
Don't fall into their trap even when they say that they will repay all the money the very next day.
3. Don't Click the Links Randomly
Scammers send phishing links as well as malicious links through chats for their victims to click. A phishing link leads to a phishing web page to collect your personal data.
A malicious link contains malware and spyware that gets downloaded on the victim's phone to record phone activities and send them to hackers. Therefore, do not even click any link shared randomly, even out of your curiosity.
4. Verify Your Match By Cross-Checking
Before initiating a deep conversation with your match, you need to conduct an online search to verify his/her identity. If a person is on a dating site, he/she is likely to be on social media sites.
You can download the person's profile picture and do a reverse image search to find out his/her social media profiles as well as other websites. If you do not get any information of the person online, you should be skeptical and careful in your conversation and interaction.
How to Report an Online Dating Scam?
If you have been a victim of internet dating and romance scams or you have identified a scammer with concrete proof, you should report such a person or the same to the concerned authorities in your country.
There is no shame in reporting online romance scams, and your reporting can help authorities identify the network of scammers and stop their scamming business.
In your report, mention the online dating platform where you are scammed with the scammer's username, profile screenshots, your conversation's screenshots, monetary transactions, and any other relevant information.
There is not a very broad line between romance scammers and genuine matches. You have to keep the signs of romance scams all the time and always be skeptical until you meet your match in person.
However, no matter how smart you are, you are very likely to fall into their traps, and hence, you should be prepared. We recommend you use ClevGuard Anti-Spy app to detect malware deployed by scammers as well as prevent such deployment by activating real-time protection.