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Types of cyber crimes associated with online dating and how to protect yourself

Roses are red, violets are blue. Watch out for tinder scam otherwise it may happen to you!! Types of cyber crimes associated with online dating and how to protect yourself!

Nothing can compare the feeling of falling in love, but before you let yourself fall (Not literally), check out this statistics related to online dating scams.
[1] 10 % of online dating profiles are fake, 90 % are dead.
[2] Approx. 1 billion amount Americans lost to scammers since 2015.
[3] 57% of daters lie to each other about their demographic details

Cyberspace has become a new avenue for exploring romantic endeavors. The rapid development of Internet and communication technology offers an alternate medium to find, socialize and date people of different personalities. Several factors make online dating attractive to prospective customers. There is no need to visit various places to socialize and meet people- bars, pubs, parties, weeding’s and even the library, Yes, I have visited the library too!! The anonymity feature in online dating allows people to participate in dating without the fear of stigma or shyness.

But the very feature of anonymity and convenience catalyze romance scam in the cyber space. After all, not everyone is looking for love on the internet, some are looking for money too. A romance scam[4] is a confidence trick involving feigning romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. There are various ploys used by scammers to steal your money along with your heart.

Some tricks used for deception are:
In the name of Proposal: Scammers target widows or single people looking for a second chance at love. They propose the victim profusely about their love towards them and trick them to transfer money to them mainly via western union transfers or any other transfer mechanisms with security loopholes. In a similar case, a divorced woman was tricked by a scammer posing as a doctor to transfer money to him by western union. Later, the scammer was arrested in Noida after a thorough investigation.

Pretty lady turns out to be a man: Man pose as women via using stolen photos of pretty girls from the internet and blackmail young daters to extort money due to stigma attached with online dating.

Making money of LGBT community: Due to stigma involved with dating practices among LGBT community, many LGBT person take help of online dating platforms for their romantic endeavors. Scammers feed on this need of LGBT community and, often blackmail them to leak their identities among masses. Although the scams have reduced after the repeal of Sec 377, the cases of extortion and blackmail are still prevalent due to fear of public shaming.

Rampant presence of escort services on dating apps: Rampant number of escort agencies use stolen photographs of pretty girls to lure young singles and extort money and blackmail them in the name of public shaming and stigma attached to avail escort services.

Venue promotion scams: Many fake profiles are active only to lure customers to a specific place for an expensive date, After the date is over, your match is nowhere to be seen.

How to spot the scammer and protect yourself?

# If you are approached by someone on a dating site, experts suggest opting for a background check. You can do reverse google image search to see if source of photo is different from the identity claimed by person.
# Don’t open links sent by someone whom you have not met or trust, the link can redirect to porn sites, webcam or malware installer in your system.
# Do not and, I say do not transfer money on request of any person over dating site irrespective of how genuine their story seems, in all likely it is a fake one.
# Stay away from webcam chat as much as possible and keep a check on your acts.
# Do not share nudes at any cost.
# If your online sweet heart, could not come to meet you up in person, it’s better you run away from him or her.
# Do not share your personal sensitive information like bank details, digital accounts and home address.
Stay safe!! Stay alert!!

Happy dating
If you are facing any kind of blackmail or extortion from fraudsters over any dating sites, do approach nearest cyber police station.

[1] What Percentage of Dating Profiles Are Fake? - Sift Blog  

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