(COLORADO SPRINGS) — While dating apps may help you find that special someone, they also open the door for scammers to access more profiles on more platforms.
“Right now, with so much information online, so many opportunities to meet online, scammers can often have a field day because they can learn things about you,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.
Social Catfish is a company working to help verify the people behind online accounts using a reverse lookup search engine. President of Social Catfish, David McClellan explained how people fall for online scams.
“So all these scams, they’re tailored toward this click run type reaction where somebody makes a decision without having been able to step back or do their due diligence,” McClellan said.
McClellan shared how the scammers use different strategies to get what they want out of the victim.
“You know, sometimes they play in the greed a little bit,” McClellan said. “Sometimes they play to emotions, sometimes they play in the fear. But it’s usually, you know, in a way that makes you make a decision right away where you make that mistake.”
The Federal Trade Commission recently released data that showed in 2022, nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam with the median loss per person as $4,400.
“They can present themselves as someone who might be attractive to you with fake photos, all sorts of other scam tactics,” Weiser said. “And before you know it, you can be out even hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
If you have fallen victim to a romance scam, you can report it online to the Attorney General’s Office.
“If you’ve been scammed and there are lots of these impersonation scams,” Wieser said. “Romance scams, [are] an important one to be on the lookout for. Let us know about it at StopFraudColorado.gov.”
Reporting fraud can help stop other victims from falling for the same sweetheart screen scammer.
“A lot of people are going to feel somewhat ashamed about the fact that they may have been the victim of a romance scam and won’t talk about it, won’t report it, won’t do anything about it,” Weiser said. “People have been scammed through all sorts of these impersonation scams. Get the word out and if you have been scammed, let us know about it.”
When it comes to finding love over the internet, Weiser shared a red flag to look out for.
“The most important thing to look out for is someone asking you for money,” Weiser said. “That is a telltale sign that something wrong may be happening, particularly if you’ve not met this person in-person. Be careful, all sorts of stories might be really compelling. You may feel like you’ve got an attachment to somebody, but if they’re asking you for money, there’s a reasonably good chance it’s not real.”