“Dating apps are a prime destination for scammers looking to prey on vulnerable individuals seeking romance. Reports from around the globe all show a similar trend in the rise of romance scams resulting in losses in the millions. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in the past five years, people have reported losing a staggering $1.3 billion to romance scams.
“On dating apps, the currency of trust is what is most often abused by scammers. They create fake profiles using stolen photographs and pose as someone else. Once connected, they may tout get rich quick schemes, especially cryptocurrency investment scams, to lure unsuspecting users into fake investment websites in order to steal their funds. Scammers may also seek out login credentials for national banks or peer to peer payment apps like Cash App, Venmo and PayPal. Additionally, scammers might claim to be in financial trouble and they may ask you to wire them money or send them gift cards. These are just a few of the techniques scammers may employ to steal money from dating app users.
“One way that the dating apps can deal with some of the fake profiles is by using a verification mechanism whereby users have to take a photograph of themselves using certain criteria in order to earn a verified badge and have the ability to message users. While this might seem like extra work and could prevent users from signing up, it would certainly lower the prevalence of fake profiles, though it wouldn’t stop some determined scammers from swindling others out of money by creating their profiles and building a fake persona outside of the apps as the Tinder Swindler did.
“For dating app users, it’s increasingly important to remain sceptical, especially when being asked to participate in a get rich quick scheme around cryptocurrency, or to send money to someone you barely know. Scepticism is the pillar by which dating app users can ensure they don’t fall for the lion share of these types of scams. If you do come across a suspicious account, use the reporting tool built into the dating apps to flag these profiles.” – Satnam Narang, Staff Research Engineer, Tenable