Look out for these common behaviors of dating scammers

Dating fraud - Matrimonial Scam - IFF Lab

Millions of people all across the globe use online matrimonial and online dating platforms to seek a suitable companion for life or sometimes just to cope up with their loneliness. And this is the opportunity that dating scammers all across the globe wait to seek in order to exploit the emotional state of an individual for monetary and other material gains. Remember that not all prospective profiles that one may be interested to explore may be looking for love or companionship!

The era of digital romance

Gone are the days of yore when it would require a strong mental courage and a keen physical effort to confess one’s feelings for someone. Back then it would be considered quite a triumph if one could win over a prospective partner’s trust sufficiently to exchange phone numbers or email IDs. Dating would mean long periods of telephonic conversations before the actual meeting was fixed up. Even meeting each other would require spending time and effort to fix up and arrange the travel.

However, with the evolution of online dating platforms and apps, the efforts of finding a suitable match has been reduced to the single click of a mouse or a swipe on the mobile. Searching for the ‘perfect’ match has become as simple as choosing an entity to buy from an e-commerce platform! You can search for your partner based on location, likes, hobbies, profession and a host of other filters!

With the digital frenzy taking over the world, the Internet is becoming an increasingly lucrative place for cybercriminals. Thus it is likely that the person you may have opened the windows of your heart to may only be looking forward to entering inside and robbing you of your money, emotions and sometimes self-respect and dignity.

FBI reports have indicated that romance scams account for the highest financial losses of all internet-based crimes in the United States, and losses have exceeded $230 million!

The potential victims

Middle-aged women, single mothers, divorcees, and widows are popular soft targets for these conmen who take advantage of their solitude by offering them solace in their loneliness. Soon, such victims have their judgment blurred by the undying faith that they develop in them and end up taking the most foolish decisions.

However, recent events have shown that one need not necessarily be ‘vulnerable’ to get entrapped in such scams. Incidents all across the globe have revealed that even highly educated, articulate and intelligent women who keep themselves alert at all times have also fallen prey to such fraudsters only because of the trust that the latter ends up instilling in them.

How to spot some common traits of scammers

Although most dating and matrimonial platforms are taking necessary steps to curb the occurrence of such frauds, ultimately, your online and offline safety is entirely in your hands. And plus when most of such conmen leave behind certain obvious trails, one can easily be wary of them and look out for these common scammer behaviors.

1. Look for a marked age difference

Male scammers are known to target middle-aged women or even financially sound older women in their 60s taking advantage of their vulnerability and riches. Stay wary of such individuals whose only intention is to exploit your solitude for illicit monetary gains.

2. Too much finesse can be a matter of concern too

Contrary to a poorly represented profile, if the messages exchanged, or even the profile looks too perfect to be true, then also it is a cause for concern! Scammers are usually quite adept at copying fancy stuff from other websites and profiles and blindly using them for communication. Thus, no matter how creepy it may sound, run a plagiarism check to analyze the originality of the suspicious text!

3. Inconsistent public profiles

Inconsistencies between what they claim to be and what their dating and other public profiles show may mean that it is time for you to step back! You can verify their photo by saving a copy of their profile picture and running a search on Google Image. Look out for any suspicious activities or links. Also, look for geographical discrepancies, backgrounds, landscapes and other such features that may look edited and does not fall in sync with the image that the person may have built for himself/herself.

4. Love, at first sight, doesn’t work here

Love, at first sight, worked during those good old days but on an online dating platform, if you find the opposite person showing a heeds-over-heels-in-love-with-you attitude over a very short period of time, then back off! Scammers will usually push for a serious relationship even without knowing you properly and will have a tendency to exhibit a grand show of their emotions at all times.

5. Request for engaging in intimate activities

A scammer may even engage in a long period of courtship to delude a victim into believing that it is real, and then eventually end up demanding sexual favors. Do not give in to the requests of any person you would have met on a matrimonial or dating platform to engage in any intimate acts online. The moment any person requests you to switch on your web camera after luring you with flattery and promises of love, be cautious and disengage from any further correspondence. It is most likely to be the work of a scammer!

6. Weird and suspicious links

Genuine users generally have links to their favorite travel destinations, music, books, hobbies etc. on their profile. However, remember that fraudsters usually pack their profiles with links leading to low-quality spam sites that try to sell a product or a bogus service, and sometimes even leading to pornographic sites. All these are signs that you are being fooled and you should report the person immediately.

If you are involved in a matrimonial or dating connection through an online platform and have noticed any of the above-mentioned signs, then STOP all your communications and report him/her immediately. In most reported cases of matrimonial/dating scams, the suspects were found to be involved in other kinds of cyber crimes too. They are quite technically sound and know how to mask their IP addresses and use unregistered phone numbers so that it becomes practically impossible to trace them!

Incognito Forensic Foundation (IFF Lab) provides consultation and forensic investigation of such matrimonial and online dating frauds. Their digital and cyber forensic team is adept at handling such cases and giving detailed reports for the same to help law enforcement agencies nab the perpetrators.

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