Scammers create a fake persona on popular dating sites to target lonely individuals. They make romantic gestures to gain the victim's trust over time, often proposing that they start living together or get married, persuading them to send money.
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 29, 2013
Scambook, the Internet's leading complaint resolution platform, is issuing an advisory in response to new statistics showing that women over the age of 50 are most likely to be victims of online dating scams. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)'s 2012 Report found that 51% of victims who reported romance scams were women over the age of 50, losing more than $34 million in total damages* last year alone.
Online dating scams were a top trending threat on Scambook, with over 1,200 complaints reported concerning romance fraud in 2012. A key aspect of the most common type of online dating scam entails the scammer establishing a long-distance or even international relationship with the victim who he asks to wire money to cover travel or emergency expenses.
"Scammers create a fake persona on popular dating sites to target lonely individuals," explained Kase Chong, Scambook's Director of Marketing. "They make romantic gestures to gain the victim's trust over time, often proposing that they start living together or get married, persuading them to send money. However, the victim's judgment is clouded due to the perceived romantic relationship with the scammer."
Although women over the age of 50 are the largest demographic affected by online dating scams, Scambook encourages the public to be aware that anyone can be a victim of this type of scam regardless of gender, age or other socioeconomic factor. Unfortunately, many victims of dating scams may be afraid to come forward until it's too late due to the social stigma associated with this type of fraud.
To fight online dating scams, Scambook hopes to raise awareness for the issue. The consumer site encourages anyone who is considering online dating to follow these 5 Safety Tips:
1. Never send money or give too much personal information to someone online. Until users have met one another in person, there is no way to verify that an individual is who they say they are. Anyone who requests money for any reason, especially if they suggest a wire transfer, is most likely a scammer in disguise. Scambook advises users to avoid giving out too much private information, such as their address, as this could lead to identity theft or personal danger.
2. Stay local. Most online dating scams revolve around a long-distance relationship. Users can lower their odds of being scammed by dating local singles only. If a promising match is temporarily in another state or living overseas for work or military service, put the conversation on hold until they return and a safe meeting can be arranged.
3. Watch out for e-dates who move too fast. If users receive messages from someone who claims to be in love with them or proposes a serious relationship without meeting them first, this is a significant red flag. Scammers frequently use romantic language to lull the victim into false trust.
4. Search for them on the Internet. Once users learn a match's real name or email address, they should search for them on Scambook and other websites to see if the match is associated with any scams or other crime. Users can also save the match's photos on their computer and upload it to Google Images to find out if the photo has been stolen from another person.
5. When meeting in person, stay safe. Always choose a popular, well-lit public place such as a coffee shop or restaurant to meet someone for the first time. Users should tell a close friend or family member where they're going, who they expect to meet, and when they expect to be back. It is also advised that users arrange their own transportation and bring a cell phone in case of emergency.
For more safety tips and additional information, users are encouraged to visit http://www.scambook.com/blog.
Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $10 million in reported consumer damages. For more information, visit scambook.com.