Tinder Swindlers: How scammers steal your heart, then your money

Romance scams continue to evolve, not in a small part due to social media and the popularity of online dating. With our lives becoming increasingly busy, not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders, apps dedicated to online romance — or casual dating — have flourished. 

Tinder, Grindr, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, Match, and Hinge are some of the most popular apps out there, and each can be an avenue for scammers to strike. 

Romance scams vary, but they all have one of two purposes: stealing your cash or your information. Scams include:

Outright requests for money: Scammers might start small and even pay you back to build trust. However, it wouldn’t be long before they would ask for far more — and then vanish. 

Requests might be made to purchase a flight or travel to see you, pay off customs charges, buy a new laptop or phone to keep communicating with you, pay outstanding medical bills, among other things. 

Your scammer may also say they are expecting a cash gift or an inheritance, so they ask to ‘borrow’ money for a short while. 

An emergency or disaster: For some, being a romance scammer is a full-time job, so spending time building trust with multiple victims is simply part of their working day. 

Suppose enough of an emotional connection is cruelly created, and then they say there is a sudden emergency. There’s been an accident, they are in trouble and their physical safety is threatened, or they are in hospital with looming medical bills. 

This can create enough of a panic that the victim sends cash without a second thought, as the fraudster has already taken the time to build up trust. 

Members of the military: The military scam is a popular one. A profile is set up with fake images — often the stolen photos of actual soldiers — and the use military jargon, titles, and known army deployment areas to appear more plausible. 

They may say they are either just about to ship out or are soon to return and may also try to add some mystery by…

Read more at www.zdnet.com

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