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Reports claim a rise of 40 per cent in dating crimes during the lockdown where people are tricked into transferring money into the account of an unknown individual they met online.
As you meet a person online, they impress and create an image of being affluent by using photographs of exotic vehicles or by posting images in close foreign locations or mansions to get the victim to spend money on them after a few months of pursuing or sometimes, a year, when they ask the victim to transfer funds or share a bank account.
They may ask for money for emergency or humanitarian causes like medical aid to ailing someone in the family. They claim to own a huge bank balance and promise to return the funds very soon.
Some persuade the victim to set up an account with a cryptocurrency broker and buy digital currencies for upfront money transfer. Suppose the victim agrees to any such investment.
In that case, they may be conned into spending a huge amount even at places where they never intended to invest and sometimes, the money goes from their account into an unknown account, creating many other risks.
The quantity and type of information differ from one scam to another on the dating sites where the con intends to get a besotted victim to get their wire cash or get them a charge card. In most cases, the crook uses the partner to get anything he can, but they change the tone if the target is wise.
They trick the other person into spending on an unknown individual, using mentally abusive emotional or manipulating pressurising techniques. Most victims claim they suffered endless pain of being taken advantage of and felt very upset and humiliated after the incident.
Men and women in their 50s and 60s are widowed or divorced and feel rejected or are past their prime. They are the ones who are struggling with health issues like unhealthy weight gain and coping with loneliness.
They are often targeted by unscrupulous individuals who persuade the other parties to loan cash to them for strange reasons. The initial phase of grooming, when the victim gets many positive messages, is a subtler phase that may take even months or years to move further.
After some time, they recognise the weaknesses of the target and then they will distort the victim's perception by controlling their actions and may create a sense of vulnerability in the relationship.
The time when they ask for cash will not be a straightforward plea. For example, one may ask for help for health issues or a joint venture. Such trends on online dating sites are almost the same.
People have been desperately searching for a partner during the pandemic as they were restricted from meeting potential partners. Security experts state the pandemic created limitations on social interaction, increasing vulnerability of those seeking a partner, and it created the perfect picking ground for them.
These are not new types of fraud. Many use social networking and dating sites, and the meetings develop into long term relationships. They lose money through direct fund transfer and other ways like sending gift cards, vouchers, and some are fooled into giving access to their bank and credit card details.
In the UK, 2.3m people use such apps, and 64 per cent find such options as a lifeline for living alone.
How To Identify It?
All such con artists on dating sites use strange language, bad sentences or structure, are often associated with international professional tricksters.
Whenever you get a request from such a contact, look at the syntax. The strange language and the linguistic errors depict a concern.
You should get alerted if you get questions like "where you from" or "what's your education".
If the profile suggests, the other person holds a college degree. Still, there are errors in their basic communication skills or other behavioural issues that do not connect with the basic profile; one should get alerted.
They say they reside close to your location but are often based overseas, and when you seek answers related to the locality, they get clueless.
They post their pictures, which are most likely of somebody else, and it can be tough to describe the person face to face.
If you want to meet through an in-person conference, they tell you "why it cannot happen" as "they are travelling," or "face some emergency", or "are stationed overseas."
The authorised agencies created a list of common sites that have been reportedly involved in such crimes. Furthermore, they have given guidelines to the involved people on filing a report against such criminals. The city of London Police initiated a Fraud Action with banks, the post office and building societies to prevent it.
However, the experts claim one needs to understand the fraudster's methodology, which uses unique ways to persuade the victim to hand over the funds.
They use various mediums to transfer the money to the financial institutions they are linked with. They earn through the increased interest of the online members that set up perfect conditions to proliferate.
Still, it is best to lead with the mind than heart as scammers use these sites to get targets. They convince people to transfer money in the name of love and relationship. Any relationship where fund transfer is needed is an artist pretending to be a friend online.
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