Romance scams are one of the worst plagues of modern society. Thousands of people register with an internet-based dating agency like OkCupid every year, just to face the worst nightmare of their lives. Many people start using dating websites and apps, skeptical of being able to find real love, but no one ever gets involved in online dating thinking they will end deceived and scammed. Although it is a sad thing that romance scams happen with such frequency, international investigators say that it is also important to be aware of the situation and to take actions to avoid being a victim.
OkCupid belongs to the big league of online dating websites. The brand is owned by the giant of the online dating industry, Match Group. It is one of the preferred dating platforms as it is free of charge, making it accessible to anyone around the globe with an internet connection. Over 2 million people supposedly use the site per month, and although it is said that their users have decreased since Tinder -from the same parent company- started getting trendy, it is still one of the major players of the online dating industry. Many people are meeting online with no idea who they’re dealing with.
How do romance scams in OkCupid work?
Like romance scams in any other website, it all starts when victims receive a contact from someone who shows an interest in them. The scammer, who is just playing a part in their game, usually claims to be from overseas, or they might tell you they are in the same country or even right down the road. Gradually, victims develop a long-distance relationship through emails, instant messaging, texting and phone calls. As the relationship continues to grow, scammers gain their victims’ trust. Once they have prepared their victims, they will start requesting money or favors in exchange for their “love”. More advanced criminals never ask for money, but instead employ tactics such as blackmail, hacking and theft of your personal data. As long as you are in communication with someone who has not been verified by a professional, you are at risk for identity theft and financial loss.
Most people who are aware of the dangers fear for the financial implications of getting involved with the wrong person. However, scammers have evolved and now use their online victims to help them with money laundering, illegal trade and other serious crimes. The victims may think they are just helping their partner with a money transfer or a delivery of a simple package, but what they are really doing is being part of a crime ring and letting fraudsters get away with their crimes.
How to avoid OkCupid romance scams?
In the first place, be selfish when it comes to personal information. Scammers feed off the clues in your profile. That is why they will most likely claim to live nearby, or say they attended the same school as you did, or have similar interests as you do. They appear to know a lot from you without even knowing you, and although that sounds attractive to many people, like a match made in heaven, the truth is they did read your profile carefully. The more they know about you, the more in danger you are. Don’t ever mention your income or where you work. You can say you’re a nurse or an executive but don’t mention where exactly you work or how much you make. Also, stay far from sounding lonely in your profile. It makes you perfect prey for scammers looking to hook you into their scams.
Pay close attention to what they tell you about themselves. The best way to stay safe is to hire a professional who can conduct an real international background check and verify if this person is real.
OkCupid romance scams, like on other online dating and social media websites, are nothing new, but criminals are becoming increasingly skilled at their job. Working with a reliable private investigation firm to help you get the evidence you need can keep you safe. Don’t be a victim!
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