ONLINE dating is on the rise, but it is safe?

Currently, more than 40% of single men used a dating app or a dating site in the last month, according to a GlobalWebIndex.

Although these apps and sites have the potential to bring great happiness into the lives of users, there’s a dark side as well. 

Scammers abuse these services for their own evil ends, leading to emotional and financial heartbreak for their victims.

Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of ESET South Africa, warned of multiple forms of deception on these dating platforms.

Criminals committing romance scams carefully study the profiles of their would-be victims and collect vital personal information. such as their work activity, level of income, and lifestyle, as mismanagement of our personal information in the digital space allows criminals to build a detailed profiles of their victims.

“One of the most common methods is the scammer who emotionally manipulates the victim to send them money, gifts or personal information,” said van Vlaanderen. 

Users of online dating sites and apps should bear in mind that anyone can be deceived.

Here are some recommendations to keep in mind:

-  Look for inconsistencies. If you find any, be cautious.

-  Romance scammers tend to profess a keen interest and want to meet their victims quickly.

-  They also tend to quickly move the discussion off the platform or app to other forms of messaging like email, Skype or a secure messaging app. This prevents fraud detection. systems employed by dating services or apps from monitoring their attempts to defraud their victims

-  It is common that after a while (weeks or months) and after having established some confidence, the person you know will tell you a very elaborate story that ends with a request for money, sending a gift or something similar. Never send money to someone you have met in an online dating scenario.

-  It’s a red alert if your pursuer always has an excuse not to meet you in person.