How To Recognize, Avoid And Report Romance Scams During COVID-19

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In the last few years, online dating has boomed including a surge in users on dating apps at the beginning of the COVID crisis. It’s especially important to talk about the potential romance scammers that might be on the prowl preying on people who are just doing what they can to keep themselves and their communities safe: lonely people in isolation.

Datingroo dug deeper and got in touch with police from the EU and an expert on human behavior to figure out how to make online dating safer. By knowing the signs of a romance-scammer and knowing what to do when you find one!

Who’s vulnerable to romance scams?

Isolation is the perfect time to prey on lonely people who are looking to simply make a connection. But even if you don’t think you’re lonely, anyone can fall prey to this in uncertain times. Dr. Patrick Wanis, an expert on human behavior, explains that social isolation really creates a sense ” overthinking, obsessiveness, rumination and thus, depression.” Making people looking for love in a trying time, be more at risk of falling for a scam.

4 characteristics of people who are more vulnerable to scams:

  1. Impulsivity
  2. Trusting others easily
  3. Being overconfident
  4. Addictive personalities

The truth is though, anyone can be at risk to falling prey to something like this especially in unprecedented times like this.

“Fraud victims tend to be middle-aged (from about 40 years upwards) and are found in all levels of society. There is no clear assignment to social groups according to the Berlin Police

Anja Dierschke, Deputy Press Officer, Berlin Police

Romance scam red flags and how to spot them

  1. Their profile photos look too professional, almost stock-photo like. Do a quick google-reverse image search to find out if the “person” you’re getting to know is real or not.
  2. Your match is exceptionally attractive and is acting suspiciously needy/desperate. Scammers tend to use pictures of wildly attractive humans to use the vulnerability of people to fall for the idea of a being with someone outstandingly ‘out of their league’. If it’s too good to be true, it just might be!
  3. Your crush asks you for personal information. When questions get too personal, too quickly, that’s a red flag, amore.
  4. Don’t click on any suspicious links. Check the person’s profile for any obvious signs of scamming: misspelling, webcam-sites, random links etc.
  5. If you think you might be talking to a scammer, write something unexpected and see how your match reacts. Modern chatbots react to keywords, so try to outsmart them!
  6. If they ask you for money, it’s a scam. Never give out your credit card info or any personal information that could be used for fraud.
  7. If they ask you for a ‘security ID’ to prove “you’re real”, it’s a scam.

Remember, if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable, there are always options to report them on any app you’re using and if necessary, notify the authorities in your area.

How are other ways you stay safe while dating online and offline? Share them in the comments!

H/T: Datingroo

If you’re media and want to reach our Editor, Moira Ghazal, you can email her at mghazal @ clover .co

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