Interpol has issued an official warning of scammers targeting users of dating apps. Fraudsters attempt to lure these users into investing in schemes through which, realistically speaking, it’s impossible to profit. Interpol’s warning was received by all 194 members.
Interpol added that these scammers are taking advantage of people’s vulnerabilities, who are looking for that special someone online.
The first stage of this elaborate scheme is to create a fake romantic relationship between a user and a fraudster claiming to be romantically interested in the opposite party.
Once both parties reach a level of intimacy, again, completely artificial, the criminals start talking about investment opportunities and share tips with their victims. Their ultimate goal is to induce the user to join a scheme.
This is all in the name of building trust between scammer and user. Once a relationship is built, the fraudster can easily manipulate users into investing in worthless schemes.
The next step is for the scammed to download a “trading” or “investment” platform/app through which the criminals can steal deposited funds from. The clients are encouraged to reach a Gold or VIP status, and to work up the so-called “investment chain”.
It all culminates to the day when the users realize they are being scammed, “They’re left confused, hurt, and worried that they’ll never see their money again.” added Interpol in the statement.
To avoid further scams, the agency encourages vigilance when using dating apps. Interpol also shared a number of tips that would be useful in defending against, or completely avoiding, this breed of scammers:
- Users must be vigilant and sceptical, as you never know who sits on the other side of the computer or mobile device, especially where money is concerned.
- Clients should rethink their actions, and see things realistically, no matter how good everything seems.
- They are also encouraged to look for online reviews of the apps or trading platforms that the user is pushed into using.
- Never share personal information!
- Immediately report that you are being scammed!
Similar scams have seen an uprising ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, as millions of users have been left with no choice but to use online dating site/apps.