In a world of intelligent dating apps, where Tinder-matching algorithms are ever-evolving, it makes sense that so many people are actually finding love online. However, putting yourself online for a chance at finding the one (or at least a long-term relationship) also means there’s a big risk that you’ll encounter scammers. While some people might see past the catfishing — when someone uses social media to create a false identity — one group in particular is at risk for being scammed.
In a study conducted at the University of South Wales, researchers found that victims of online-dating scams are more likely to “express emotion and display a preoccupied attachment style.” They also tend to be efficient, organized and disciplined.
How the scam works
Scammers set up false profiles on dating sites and apps and usually express love or affection for their victims. Then they outline false, desperate circumstances — a family member is sick, they lost their job, etc. — and ask for cash from their new lover to get them out of the situation.
Because potential victims can be overly dependent and sensitive, this scam can actually work. In fact, the study found that people sent anywhere between $70 and $90,000 to scammers. Oof.
“With the rise in the number of people using online dating, more and more people are likely to fall victim,” the study says. “Scammers use sophisticated techniques and eventually may begin to know exactly the sort of people to target and how to manipulate them.”
Although the risk of getting scammed is real, knowing more about potential victims can be helpful. By understanding who’s vulnerable to dating scams, law enforcement and dating sites can be more proactive about keeping the online dating world safe. For now, if someone you’ve virtually fallen for asks for money, think twice before sending them the cash.
Have any tips for avoiding dating scammers? Let us know @BritandCo!
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