Does swiping right cost more than $200 million to the USA?
Protection when using dating apps no longer means you have to pop by the pharmacy before you go out on an internet date. UK’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) recently reported online dating fraud in the UK cost victims a heart-breaking £27 million ($34 million) last year. NFIB states the numbers are not entirely correct as they believe many people are not reporting online dating crimes out of embarrassment. Quartz most likely takes this argument into account as it mentions the losses in 2016 from online dating in the UK estimates at very close to $50 million. Anyway, we will rely on NIB’s data. The UK has a population of 65 million people, and according to the UK’s office for national statistics, about 45 million of them have access to or use the internet.
How is this relevant to us here in the USA?
Having in the scams are happening in a well-developed country such as the United Kingdom we find the results of NFIB’s research utterly shocking. We decided to see how these numbers would compare to cases in the US. According to PerREsearch, today roughly 280 million Americans use the internet or have access to a connected smartphone or a PC.
If we maintain the same ratio, we can quickly conclude that online dating fraud is mostly costing the US population more than $200 million. This is a lot of money, just to put things into perspective $200 million would be the cost of constructing a desalination plant able to provide clean water for the whole county of Ventura. People need to be protected while enjoying the perks that come with online dating. I guess we just solved the drought problem for one of California’s drought-stricken counties.
Is it $200 million dollars?
It most likely is more than that. It’s no secret USA tops the list of the countries most engaged in online dating. We, the Americans might be smarter and not fall for the tricks of hackers, but according to eHarmony, 40% of Americans use online dating sites when compared to just 25% in the UK, who admitted to having at least one dating app installed on their phone or tablet.
Even if we are not as easy to trick as the Brits, online dating scams are most likely affecting us more than our British friends across the pond. We won’t go into further details but the time and money Americans lose on dating sites are serious. Thus, we wouldn’t be surprised if numbers in the US are even higher.
Who are the victims?
Seniors are more prone to fall victim to one of these scams. About 62% of those who fell for the scams were over 40, and a quarter were aged 50-59. So be extra vigilant if you are in this age group. And even if you are not, if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t. And unless you are into giving away your personal belongings, money and personal information to complete strangers in exchange for a possibility of a hookup, we advise you to keep yourself protected with antivirus software that may prevent you from getting scammed. We understand that chatting with exotic lads and ladies might be bringing emotions you enjoy, but please remember to remain protected. Don’t be a contributor to the $200 million pot the US is most likely giving away.
How to determine if you are being scammed and what actions you must take?
Yes, you can be a good citizen and help the police catch the lovebird trying to take your vacation money away from you. The number one rule is always to record the incoming phone number should you start receiving calls. This should not be hard as you can find it in your ‘recents’ section on your cell phone. Secondly, try to remember as much as possible about the way your lover-to-be is talking, i.e. accent, or type of words he/she is using. If it doesn’t feel right, hang up and report the user to the fraud department of the dating platform you are using.
Being a good citizen will help dating sites keep their listings as accurate as possible. Never allow access to your personal information, if you have doubts about the person you are meeting or chatting.
Bear in mind those three rules:
- Do not give your account number to anyone over the phone or the Internet unless you are the caller or if you are 100% sure who they are.
- Keep in mind that fraudulent activities are often made by non-native people.
- Using common sense is the best way to avoid a scam.
Panda Security is here to the rescue; we offer the best antivirus protection for all your devices. Next time you swipe right, stop by at www.panda.com and get yourself protected. Then go to the pharmacy and get the additional things you may need to enjoy a safe and happy relationship.