image

Online dating apps are a good environment for online dating fraud

How not to fall victim to online dating fraud: Amsterdam advises

How not to fall victim to online dating fraud: Amsterdam advises

Has a “match” ever offered you an amazing blockchain investment opportunity?

If you have been looking for love or a partner for a while, you might have likely tried your luck at online dating through websites, mobile applications, groups and chats on social media or even game forums. The internet environment abounds with possibilities to meet someone interesting. But beware, as abounding are the potential dangers as well.

One such problem – online dating fraud - was reported by the municipal website of Amsterdam. The city raises awareness of a growing phenomenon that has led many users to lose a lot of money and self-esteem, tempted by fake personalities whom they met online and who were offering unrealistic investment opportunities.

Read further to find out how online dating scams work and what you can do when you find yourself in one.

What is online dating fraud and how it works?

Imagine the following situation: you have been using this cool dating app for a while, but never got to start anything serious. You are beginning to feel that it might never work for you, when the perfect match suddenly arrives: an attractive and fun person, who seems to like you back and shows great interest in you.

You chat for a while, perhaps even switch to other apps such as Viber or WhatsApp, and even meet each other virtually. You don't even realise that you are becoming more and more attracted to this person, who is swiftly earning your trust.

By the way, she presents herself as a successful investor, working with a new and promising blockchain currency, which makes a huge profit. Kind as she is, your new friend soon shares with you the secrets of this business, because she likes you very much and is interested in your shared future. You soon start trading together and make small investments that quickly return good profits.

You become really hooked and this is when the fun ends. At some point, you may decide to withdraw the money you have won, but it turns out that there is a tax on it – a percentage of the earnings. Only when you perform the transfer, will you be able to collect your earnings.

Since you have “earned” a lot, the tax you have to pay is considerable and usually amounts to a couple of hundred euros or dollars. You still make the transfer as the profit is, after all, much greater - heck, you might even borrow some money to cover it.

Well, guess what: you are never getting this tax money back, neither will you see any profit and most likely, you will never recover your initial investments either: you have become a victim of online dating fraud.

The scenarios might be very different, but they all work so well because in romantic situations one becomes more vulnerable. Even more so if emotions are involved, which happens when the other person is attractive and seems to be attracted to us. What's more, we might feel so ashamed that we might refrain from sharing the story with anyone else, and this is what makes the system even stronger.

What is the advice of Amsterdam against dating scams?

If you have been a regular reader of TheMayor.EU you know that Amsterdam makes conscientious efforts to help its residents make healthy and informed choices in all aspects of life. Although you would not normally expect a municipality to deal with dating safety and investment fraud, the Dutch capital has obviously taken the issue to heart by sharing a real-life story with a number of examples on how to detect frauds and lies online.

Amsterdam explains that dating fraud involves being scammed by someone you met on a dating site, website, social media or online game. Your new beloved doesn't really exist and has created a fake personality, being only after your money. Even further, the scammers have become so seasoned, that they might hire a real organisation to deepfake identities and make the story more credible.

So, here is a piece of advice on how to detect dating fraud:

  1. Always verify your date first. You might try to perform Google Search on them and discover if there is any information related, including profiles on social media. Search engines like Google Image or TinEye even enable you to perform reverse image search and discover what is the origin of the photo your date uses on their profile and when it was first used.
  2. Think carefully before switching to other apps. If your date wants to get rid of the dating app too fast and to switch to WhatsApp, Viber or email instead, showers you with compliments and affection, yet avoids audio or video calls, and asks for money to cover some kind of emergency - these are sure warning signs.
  3. Beware of investment opportunities that promise unrealistic earnings. Blockchain deals that look too good to be true, are also a red light.
  4. Talk to friends or family about your date. When your reasoning is clouded by emotions, it is a good idea to hear a second opinion, so your relatives might be a very good judge on whether someone’s identity is real and what their intentions might be.

Furthermore, Amsterdam even has a webpage dedicated to online dating fraud. It explains in detail how to react when you are suspicious that someone is lying to you online and wants to deceive you into losing money.

The website further suggest you contact a national Anti Fraud Hotline, file a report with the police, report the profile to the dating site and of course – stop communicating with them immediately.

Finally, share your story – there is nothing to be ashamed of. Sharing can help other people be more alert to strange behaviour online and thus prevents new victims.

Newsletter

Back

Growing City

All

Smart City

All

Green City

All

Social City

All

New European Bauhaus

All

Interviews

All

ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU

Latest