Online Matrimonial & Dating Sites can be safe with these tips

Online Safety

There cannot be a feeling that is happier than treading upon the path of holy matrimony with the one you are truly compatible with! And what better than the modern day digital ‘swayamvar’ where one has the freedom to swipe left or swipe right and choose a life partner based on one’s likes and dislikes. Online dating and matrimonial platforms have widely emerged as the first choice for the current generation and their anxious parents for finding a suitable match. However, its darker side that can transform its positive outcomes into one that leaves a lifelong heart-wrenching scar cannot be overlooked!

One needs to exercise an unprecedented caution and take calculated steps when embarking on the journey of finding a partner for life through an online dating or matrimonial platform. This is because such online social platforms have become the latest hub for scammers to exploit the emotional connect that they establish with victims for monetary and other material gains. Here are some quick tips to remember in order to be secure and have a ‘holy’ matrimony in the truest sense.

1. It’s okay to have emotions but don’t let that blindfold you

Come what may, do not ever pay heed and respond to anyone’s behest for money or other material assets. Matrimonial fraudsters are known to befriend victims, and then demanding money for medical treatments, business needs, and various other pretexts. Report such a case with your online matrimonial platform immediately and withhold from continuing the conversation any further.

The case of a 29-year-old woman who was cheated of ₹2.85 lakh by a conman on a matrimonial site was registered with the Koramangala Police, Bengaluru, India, on November 7, 2017.

August 2017 brought to light the case of a highly learned and educated woman in Pune, India, who was duped of ₹ 142,500 by an online matrimonial conman posing as an NRI.

The UK saw a record high of 3889 victims of online dating scams in the year 2016 with one woman being cheated of more than €300,000!

2. Watch out single women, divorcees, and single moms

Investigators have found out that scammers usually target divorcees, widows or unmarried women in the age group of 30 to 60, and a survey has it that the cheating amount generally ranges between ₹ 15,000 and ₹ 94 lakh.

A 72-year old woman from Mumbai, India, was cheated of ₹ 420,000 and lost all of her life’s savings to an online fraudster posing as a UK businessman in April 2017. He managed to befriend her and lured her into the trap by promising her a cash gift of €2 million.

Such fraudsters generally pretend to be younger than the victim and take advantage of their solitude to win over their trust. Middle-aged, single women and single mothers who generally do not have any guardian to verify the authenticity of such strangers end up falling prey to them. Scammers usually pose as NRIs and demand money for the clearance of the customs duty/tax for premium gifts and conversion charges for foreign currency.

3. Say a big NO to sharing personal details or images

Always refrain from sharing personal numbers, bank details and email ID until you are completely sure and have done a thorough background check. Never share private and provocative images as they could be used in ways you cannot even imagine! Use the ‘Express Interest’ option that popular Indian matrimonial platforms such as BharatMatrimony.com, Shaadi.com, and Jeevansaathi.com have to offer, to communicate for as long as possible till you are 100% sure of the candidate. Be alert, be cautious and be smart!

4. A decision in haste could be a decision in waste

Take ample time to conduct background checks and think through your decision carefully before taking the plunge. Online matrimonial and dating sites can be a true blessing only if tread carefully and are fully aware of its loopholes. Remember that your true match will never rush you through your decisions and will allow you the time you need to arrive at one. If you find someone rushing you or deleting the profile after few conversations, it is most likely the work of a conman.

5. Go back to the old school background checks

Even back in the days of yore, when one would seek a suitable match through conventional methods such as word of mouth, newspaper ads and the like, background checks were a mandatory part of the process. Families would visit each other multiple times, consult with their close confidants, and review the town/village where the bride/groom would be staying. So if our forefathers have been doing it for ages then why not now?

Conduct an end-to-end background check even it calls for some travel and involves a long span of time. Better late than sorry! The internet and various social media platforms have made it easier to get in touch with the organization a prospective match works in, and also friends, relatives, and associates from various walks of life. Conduct cross-reference checks while also keeping in mind that a person’s professional or personal life should not be compromised!

6. Seeking help from an investigation agency may be awkward but is sure

There are forensic investigation agencies who aid in assessing the authenticity of a profile. And it’s perfectly okay to approach them even though it may make you a little awkward! Although, as a matter of fact, this is quite a common practice in high profile matrimonial match-making. Such agencies help in gathering minute details about a candidate by cross verifying relatives, discreetly questioning work acquaintances and neighbors, and analyzing the financial status and criminal records.

Got trapped in a matrimonial fraud? IFF Lab has the solution.

Conmen waiting to take advantage of the solitude and emotional attachment of women are increasingly finding newer ways to cheat innocent people. Although the public is becoming more and more aware of such crooks, one should always be vigilant when looking for a matrimonial/dating match online. Never transfer money, share your personal details or photos, or get intimate online. Remember that a genuine person shall always respect your privacy and would never demand anything tangible from you except for your lifelong companionship.

However, if you or your kin have been a victim of such a scam, or suspect one, you can reach out to Incognito Forensic Foundation (IFF Lab), having offices in Bangalore and Chennai in India. They offer consultation and conduct exhaustive investigations by leveraging cyber and digital forensics to help law enforcement agencies nab the perpetrators.

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