A Romance Scam Nobody Asked For – A Cryptocurrency Dating Scam
People looking for relationships are using dating apps and social media sites more than before.
While some individuals view this practice as a technique to con others out of their money, others see it as a chance to find love. In addition to dating applications, cryptocurrency assets are also quite popular, and thieves have discovered a way to transform the standard romantic scam into a form of online fraud.
On dating apps and other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, scammers create fake online personas. They then initiate contact with users of the apps and try to build a rapport. Even if the con artist claims to reside abroad, they are nevertheless eager to meet and develop a deeper connection.
Additionally, they can advise you to transfer your “relationship” to a private medium like email or a chat application. When the opportunity arises, the con artist will make an urgent request for money and ask you to give it via gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or digital currency.
Some romance scams persuade the victim into installing phony applications or encrypted apps on their cellphones that leave them vulnerable to theft by asking that the conversation continues on another app. Scammers will go to great lengths to make the fake software closely resemble an authentic one.
They convince the person to download the phony crypto asset trading software after they agree to send money to the con artist. The scam could go on until the user contacts the app to withdraw their money because they wish to break up with the other person or stop paying them money. When they try to call customer service after being locked out of their account, they can end themselves speaking to one of the con artists. The person could occasionally be requested to pay an “exit charge” in order to withdraw their money.
Do you know that the year 2021 set a new record for bitcoin crime? According to statistics cited by CNBC, scammers stole 14 billion dollars worth of cryptocurrencies from victims last year. The most frequent crimes are theft and fraud, which is an increase of 79% from the previous peak in 2020. Now, dating apps are being used by cryptocurrency scammers as a new cash stream.
In 2017, romance scammers stole $547 million in bitcoin, according to a recent Federal Trade Commission investigation. That is a rise of almost 80% from 2020 and more than six times the losses reported in 2017. The first step for thieves is to gain the target’s trust so they can easily manage them. Prior to stealing your money, they are after your heart.
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A Con Artist Might Also Offer to Lend Them Money
To gain further trust from their victim, a con artist might also offer to lend them money. However, issues occur if the victim wants to halt trading and withdraw their funds.
The con artists can now prevent the victim from accessing their accounts. Victims may occasionally be informed by a customer service agent working for the scam in-app that they must pay a “tax” in order to withdraw their money. One victim reportedly put the equivalent of $1.4 million in Bitcoin into a phony trading app, according to a prior statement from Sophos.
Criminals have been able to utilize workarounds to get around Apple’s security procedures that stop malevolent actors from making the program available through the Apple App Store, according to the research. The most recent incident includes scammers using Apple’s TestFlight tool, which is also utilized by legitimate developers, to create “test versions” of their dubious apps. Companies can utilize TestFlight to enable software testing for a select group of people. However, the con artists take advantage of the TestFlight feature, which gives customers a method to download fake programs outside of the App Store.
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Cryptocurrency Romance Scams Already Have a Devastating Impact
Despite being relatively new in the US, cryptocurrency romance scams already have a devastating impact.
According to the FTC, victims of crypto romance scams lost $139 million in total in 2021, more than 25 times the recorded losses in 2019 and nearly five times what consumers lost in 2020. These frauds are particularly effective because they prey on people’s emotional receptivity and the relative ignorance of cryptocurrencies among the general public.
Crypto dating scam victims frequently claim that their online companions won’t meet them in person or have a video call because they are hesitant and not ready yet. Actually, it’s because con artists build convincing web accounts using images of other people. You can authenticate the person’s identity by conducting a reverse image search on those images. To do this, download the suspect scammer’s photo(s) and use Google’s reverse image search or TinEye, where you may submit the photo and search using that image by clicking the upload button on TinEye or the camera icon on Google.
If there isn’t a match, it doesn’t necessarily indicate the images don’t actually belong to that individual; they can have been taken through a scammer’s access to a private social media account. However, some con artists are too intelligent to utilize images of real people. They might even employ artificial intelligence (AI)-generated images of fictional persons, as one dishonest crypto project creator did.
Even though it may be difficult, it’s necessary to exercise caution and skepticism when looking for love, especially if you meet someone online. Otherwise, you risk not only being heartbroken but also going broke. Although we cannot prohibit criminals from committing crimes, we can regulate our reactions to avoid falling for their tricks. One must be aware of the warning signs. If you are aware of their techniques and tactics, it is easy to stay away from them. Undeniably, one of the best methods to avoid falling victim to these scammers is to continue to care for and defend yourself as you wait for real love.
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