There are over 40 million Americans who use dating apps or online dating services, and this leaves room for potential scams. Since dating app companies don’t perform background checks, users have to decide if it’s comfortable to meet up with someone they’re interested in. While online dating or using an app, however, it is important to remember that if you are a victim of sexual assault or violence, you are not to blame.
A new generation of dating scammers takes advantage of Americans looking for love on social media platforms by creating fake profiles to contact and trick them into paying huge amounts of money. With the proliferation of new dating app users, scammers can find targets more easily – and watchdogs have a harder time keeping up.
How Romance Scam Happens
The romance scam, also referred to as online dating fraud, occurs when someone thinks they have made a connection through an online dating service, but the person they’re corresponding with is a scammer. Through manipulation or grooming, the scammer contacts and gains the trust of the other person, ultimately allowing them to steal their personal information or ask for money or a gift card.
Romance scams can affect anyone, but reports show that older people are more likely to suffer financial losses because they are not aware of their online safety. Due to their greater wealth, criminals target older people with assets in financial institutions such as retirement funds and homes. The average age of romance fraud potential victims is 50, with around two-thirds of victims being women. The cruelty of online dating fraud lies in the fact that it plays on the emotions of app users.
A New Federal Bill Forcing Dating App Companies to Issue Fraud Alerts to Users
A federal bill will require service providers to notify users of fraudulent activity. An effort by both parties to end romance scams – which caused victims to lose $1.3 billion last year (a new record) – has been launched to crack down on the crime.
Scammers may be trying to steal more than just the hearts of those looking for love online by using the Online Dating Safety Act to shut them down before they start.
Chris Maxwell, a former Nigerian scammer, says online dating makes manipulating innocent people alarmingly easy. “I succeeded because my target market was single, divorced, lonely women who needed a loving, caring companion.”
When you realize you’ve been scammed, it’s sometimes too late. It is difficult to know who you’re talking to online. ‘I lost my life savings to a man I met online and thought I was building a life with,’ said Henderson resident Terri Hampton, who spent two years homeless as a result.
The Federal Trade Commission states that those who carry out romance scams on dating websites pay attention to what users share on dating platforms, and are always willing to become a perfect match to the victim or others.
The thing you like is the thing the criminals like. The idea of settling down appeals to you. It’s the same for them. In one case, however, you wish to meet in person, and they are unable to do so. A scammer’s fake identity on dating websites often contains their excuses. According to the FTC, the most common excuse is being on a military base far away from others.
Even though scammers tell lies to get your money, the fallout can be severe, according to the feds, in their efforts to combat fraud. Hampton recalls not wanting to live. “As a smart businesswoman, how could I be so naive? But I was broken, and I knew nothing about scams.” I felt guilt, shame, and a sense of betrayal.”
Originally introduced by Congress in 2022, but never voted on, the Online Dating Safety Act is back on the floor. If the bill passes, online dating platforms would be required to:
- Incorporate safety guidelines into their platforms to protect potential victims of online romance scams
- Inform members who have sent a message to a user who is banned from using online dating sites because they violated safety regulations
- Users must also provide a government issued ID to verify their identity for better online safety
Even if the law does not pass, Maxwell believes users of dating app companies and online service providers can make their online platforms safe for vulnerable individuals by looking for some easy red flags and providing fraud ban notifications to avoid romance scammers and address fraud. “If someone refuses to show you a video call on social media when you request one, it’s a scam. If they ask for your personal information, it’s a scam. If they ask for money, it’s a scam.”
Through public awareness, service providers in Washington, for instance, can address fraud and other potential risks through the Bipartisan Bill passed. They can make the app a safer place and tackle fraud by having some basic security features that can help in building relationships and creating user awareness according to the new legislation.
This will enable US lawmakers in the Supreme Court to give press releases and provide a legislative proposal and educational initiatives to prevent the growing trend of sex offenders in not just the US, but also in places such as Southeast Asia.
Stay Safe – Avoid Online Scams
Anyone who asks you to wire money, send cryptocurrency, or provide your contact information or the numbers on a gift card, is a scammer, according to the FTC. There’s a good chance it’s a scam if someone asks for money to receive a package. Those who are concerned about a new love interest should take an important step and speak to friends or family members.
House lawmakers in Santa Clara issued fraud ban notifications following a commission vote to protect members of an online dating service from potential scammers attempting to exploit personal financial information within the intricate world of online dating, particularly targeting fraudulent users involved in sex work through various communication platforms.
Reps. David G. Valadao introduced the online fraud charter, outlining a comprehensive fraud review process aimed at addressing countless stories of fraud cases, especially focusing on payment fraud and crypto-based investment fraud. The bill, with the full text providing intricate details of the proposed measures, received bipartisan support during the vote, emphasizing the importance of giving money wisely and the role of a dedicated director of fraud prevention in safeguarding against financial scams.
The chair of a subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy recently highlighted the significance of the FTC Protecting Older Consumers Report, addressing concerns related to the online collection of personal information, particularly for online dating users. The discussion emphasized the need for legislative action, such as the Online Consumer Protection Act, to regulate data collection practices and ensure the most recent time remains focused on enhancing consumer safeguards, culminating in the signing of this voluntary agreement.
As online dating on social media sites and dating services becomes more popular and normalized around the world, it has grown in popularity and popularity since the 1990s. There are millions of people using it to find love and companionship. However, online scams, unwanted behavior, and other criminal activities can also be present. Public awareness is essential to know how to avoid potential dangers so that you can have a safe, successful dating experience.
Remember that you can take necessary preventative measures and unmatch, block, or report your match if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe on dating services. This will prevent them from viewing your profile in the future.