Online dating is no longer taboo – it has become a public conversation. While a plethora of dating websites still exist and are popular, with the increasing popularity of smartphones and app development has come a new wave of dating technology.
One such app is Tinder, an online matchmaking tool, which as of late, has been plagued by fake accounts luring users into pricey and elaborate phishing schemes. Scammers set up fake profiles with photos of attractive men and women and once a user “swipes right” (or chooses to match with them), a spambot sends enticing pre-programmed messages, tempting the user to join a private message via a shortened URL. Users falling for the scam are being asked for their credit card information to “verify your age” and begin the “conversation.” Research shows that since January 2013 (when the app was created), links of this nature have generated 8,000+ click throughs.
While it may be hard for many looking for love to be skeptical when browsing profiles, BBB serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties is warning consumers to be aware of these link baiting and phishing practices. The trend is becoming increasingly popular with online dating apps because it has proven to be a more difficult process to fix problems with spam.
BBB has a bit of practical advice if you are looking for love on the app, or others like it:
Be skeptical: If the profile doesn’t have a photo or any listed interests, be wary. Not all profiles lacking these features are frauds, but many scammers will create a basic, simple account with little effort that does not require updates in the future.
Don’t Engage with Links: Any time the user asks you to click on links, regardless of if it’s to their “other profile” or “personal website”, beware. This is phishing at its most basic form and can either download malware onto your device or lead you to enter personal information under false pretenses.
Keep Your Wallet Shut: Be weary – if someone is asking you to enter in your credit card number to chat on another site or webcam, it is a scam. Not only are these normally spambots, or falsified accounts, but there really is no guarantee that your financial information will be safe and accounted for. It’s best to block the user and move on.