This week, Match Group — the parent company for Tinder, Hinge, and a slew of other popular apps — launched a campaign to help users sniff out different forms of online fraud, like romance scams.
Romance scams occur when someone creates a fake dating app profile to start relationships with victims in order to steal money. People reported a loss of US$547 million to romance scams in 2021, according to the Federal Trade Commission. That figure is up 80 percent from the reports the FTC received in 2020, proving the problem has only getting worse.
Match Group is attending to combat this with their new global campaign. Users of Tinder and Meetic, a French dating site, will receive in-app messages containing tips and red flags of common scam behaviors. Those on Match, Hinge, Plenty of Fish, and OurTime will get notifications with this information. Match Group partnered with law enforcement groups and financial exploitation experts to identify six tips for users:
- Stay on the app as long as possible: If a match wants to take it off the app — but doesn't want to meet or have a phone or video call — this may be a red flag.
- Use the tools available in the app: You can verify your profile so other users know it's really you. If someone isn't verified and also won't hop on a video call, something fishy could be afoot.
- They're a 10 but a crypto expert: Anyone offering crypto financial advice is probably looking for money, not love.
- The promise of a big return on investment or help secure financial future: Financial advisers aren't trolling dating apps looking for clients. If someone is telling you they'll teach you how to be rich, it's too good to be true.
- They may play on your heart strings and appear to be desperate: If they're asking you for money to finance a surgery, visa, or other bills, run the other direction.
- Scams can look different and constantly evolve. Keep your guard up and stay vigilant: Scammers use different tactics; some will play the long con to earn your trust and not ask for money until months into your relationship. As a rule of thumb, don't exchange money with someone you've never met in-person.
"As a former detective and special agent, I know firsthand how scammers lure unsuspecting individuals into giving personal information and ultimately money — including preying on those looking for love or companionship," said Buddy Loomis, senior director of law enforcement operations and investigations at Match Group, in a press release. "It's the reason we are committed to investing in building the safety tools available to users by leveraging technology and resources that aim to help users protect themselves from the harms in the world around them and make safer connections."
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