Why Romance Scam Tactics Are Changing: Make Yourself Aware Of The Signs

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In the digital age, the risks and threats have evolved with it, including romance scam tactics, are no exception. The internet has become a breeding ground for romance scammers to take full advantage of those who are online with good intentions. 

At WRS, we understand that being scammed by an individual who you have built trust with can leave you feeling embarrassed, but you will be surprised that romance scams with male victims have risen by 40% since 2022 and 2023. This figure can give you comfort in understanding that you are truly not alone when it comes to succumbing to romance scam tactics.

Apps and social media platforms have become well aware of romance scam tactics, and some have been able to introduce new features to make individuals feel safer online. For example, on dating sites such as Hinge or Tinder, they provide a verified tick next to profiles meaning that the person has verified their identity. Although these features have been added, romance scammers have evolved and found new ways to exploit and target victims. 

We also understand that romance scams can target anyone and everyone and it’s not necessarily men. Women have been found to lose more money when they become victims of a romance scam tactic. On average, they accumulate a loss of just £10,000. These recent statistics have caught our attention and, with no signs of romance scams slowing down, we believe calling attention to new and evolving romance scam tactics is essential for individuals who want to find love, but also keep their finances safe.

What is a Romance Scam?

If you aren’t familiar with what a romance scam is, it is when an individual creates an online profile that doesn’t meet their true identity or where they have ulterior motives. These profiles could be on popular social media sites or dating websites. This individual will then seek out victims through chatting online and building trusting relationships using emotional manipulation and many other tactics that lead the victim to be emotionally invested and trust the scammer. 

A good example would be to try to form a trauma bond with the victim by asking them about personal incidents; they can then ‘relate’ to the victim. This opens them up to trusting them and feeling sorry for them so when it comes to sending them money, they feel more emotionally inclined.

Romance scams are usually long-term and this is a solid reason why they are successful. Through building trust and relationships with their victims, they are breaking a lot of barriers and logical responses to sending money and private information to a stranger you’ve never met. Romance scams are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the number of online scams that occur daily.

Romance Scam Tactics Are Changing

So you might be wondering what romance scam tactics are changing. While there are key factors people have been told to be wary of when talking to strangers online, such as catfishing, oil rig scams, celebrity impersonation scams and many other forms, we are all aware of and know how to navigate through them.

With evolving technology such as artificial intelligence and a change in romance scam tactics, there are significant changes that we believe everyone needs to be aware of.

Artificial Intelligence

While this tool can be useful for a lot of things, it also means that scammers can use it to their advantage. With the rise of AI voice scams, this means that an individual can clone someone else’s voice and pass it off as their own. For example, when you are dating someone, you tend to ask for video calls, or at least a voice message. AI voice scams now gives scammers another tool to hide their own identity and a way for them to come off as more believable to victims.

Social Engineering

It’s becoming more common for scammers to take on the role of individuals who are popular or relevant in society at the time. For example, they may pose as struggling single parents, business professionals working abroad or even military personnel who work overseas. By adapting their personalities to current societal issues, they are becoming more relatable and believable, making it easier to break down the walls of their victims.

Personalised Plots

People have become more aware of the scripts, especially with large stories of the Tinder Swinder being all over Netflix and the news. It has given scammers an alert that they need to switch up their game plan. Personalised plots have become the new standard for romance scam tactics.

Conducting online research on their victims allows them to alter their responses to fit with what you are looking for in a partner or to emotionally manipulate you. It’s normal for us as individuals to share parts of our lives online but scammers are beginning to take that to their full advantage, allowing them to weave elaborate narratives to gain trust and emotional dependence.

Urgency Factors

Romance scam tactics have also moved beyond playing the ultimate long game and have started to add an urgency factor to the mix. People often make bad decisions when they are in a stressful situation, so when a scammer puts their victim in a scenario where they need to react and send money now, it doesn’t give victims the chance to think about what they are doing and before they know it; they’ve transferred all their savings.

The Future of Romance Scam Tactics

There is no real answer to what the future of romance scam tactics looks like. With the ever-evolving digital landscape, we can only expect that it will continue to evolve alongside societal shifts and technology.

We advise that you use the same safety measures that have been advised from only responding to verified users, don’t send money to people unless you have met them in person; and keep all your information as private as possible. While some of these can be hard when you believe that you have found someone who you connect with it’s never worth putting your own financial situation in jeopardy.

Final Thoughts

Whether you think you have been scammed or have fallen victim to a different type of romance scam tactic, we are the most sympathetic to your situation, and we are here to help, so please contact us and we will try our best to get back what you have lost.

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