The quest for love is a common pursuit among millions of people. With the advent of technology, the internet has become an invaluable tool for finding a match. However, it can also be a breeding ground for fraud and deception, both in terms of romance and finance.
Romance scams are on the rise, with cybercriminals taking advantage of the anonymity of the internet to manipulate others into believing they are in a genuine romantic relationship. Scammers typically create fake profiles on social networks and dating apps to target unsuspecting individuals. They use sophisticated tactics to gain trust, including intelligent language and convincing promises. Once they have gained their victim’s trust, they will ask for financial assistance under the guise of an emergency or problem. Once they receive the money, they disappear without a trace.
The widespread use of the internet among people of all ages provides cybercriminals with ample opportunities to create fake profiles and target victims for fraud. In recent years, there has been an increase in romance scams, especially leading up to Valentine’s Day. Scammers have become more sophisticated and deceptive over time, using various methods to gain their victims’ trust. In the United Kingdom, approximately one-third of the population has fallen victim to these scams. In the United States, there was also an increase in this type of fraud since the onset of the pandemic, with victims aged 60 and above losing around $180 million alone.
Virtual scammers are adept at exploiting vulnerabilities in individuals looking for love online. They prey on loneliness and vulnerability in their pursuit of finding love. The global online dating market is expected to reach almost $3.6 billion by 2025