Due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, which have left many of us without any chances for live communication with other people, the number of registered users of online dating services has greatly increased. So did the number of dating scammers. Elder men and women are among the first to fall their victim. Victims do not report to the police out of fear of ridicule, widespread publicity and conflict with the relatives.
A 59-year-old woman from Izhevsk, Russia has transferred more than four thousand dollars to a man from another country she met on a dating site. The man said he is ready to move to Russia and buy shared housing with his savings. The woman was only required to pay tax —four thousand dollars. She sent this money to his account.
The average age of a dating scam victim in the UK is 50. The majority of them are women (63%). In the United States, online dating scammers are also choosing the victims among people of an older age. The financial losses from dating scams in this country have increased sixfold over the past four years. In 2019, over two hundred million dollars were transferred to criminals from people who were trying to find their partner online.
Specifically, Russians over 50 are less likely to be deceived than people of the same age from English-speaking countries. It turns out to be that most of the online dating scammers are based in African countries. Russian people are well protected from African scammers due to the language barrier. But still, sad stories involving English speaking scammers are still happening in Russia — a 46-year-old resident of Tula has lost around thirteen thousand dollars to a criminal from Africa. This man corresponded with her for a month and introduced himself as a military captain from Afghanistan.
The way that 50+ people use dating services also matters. They rarely use mobile apps. They search for a match on a website that is opened on their computer. Almost none of them swipe photos of candidates proposed by the service. Most often, they use searching filters — age, city — and search through the list. It’s much easier to get noticed by someone when you know what criteria are being used for searching. Scammers use this factor a lot.
Another reason for online scam flourishing are the closed borders between many countries due to the COVID pandemic. You will suspect nothing when the interlocutor writes that he/she cannot come because of the lockdown in a foreign country. Moreover, older people are at risk: they are advised to stay home. Pandemic is not the best time for a real face-to-face dating.
Elderly people are often inexperienced users when it comes to internet technologies. The psychologists found out that people over 65 are more likely to share fakes (like “Facebook does not have my permission to use my photos …”, etc.) on social networks. If you have been using the Internet for ten years, you have already figured out that this is not true. But your mom, who acquired a computer or smartphone a year or two ago, may see this for the first time. As well as the dating site scammers.
A typical scammer is a person who begs for financial support by using a woman’s profile. Usually, a scammer will cry for help telling different stories like: she got fired from her job, she has nothing to pay for the apartment, her children or parents are sick, her car broke down in the middle of nowhere, and there is no money to buy gasoline, etc. No fancy social engineering. These easy tricks work perfect on men who have no experience in online dating, especially the ones who are over 65.
The best way to stay protected from being scammed is to choose a responsible online dating platform that used modern anti-scam algorithms to protect its users. In this case, you can just relax and enjoy the online dating process until the pandemic is over.