Online Dating Platforms Riddled with Fake Verification Scams, FBI Warns


April 30, 2024

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Online Dating Platforms Riddled with Fake Verification Scams, FBI Warns

The FBI recently issued a warning about rogue verification schemes plaguing online dating platforms that could cause significant financial losses for victims.

Not The Same As ‘Traditional’ Romance Scams

The announcement makes a clear distinction between fake verification scams and “traditional” romance scams. The traditional variety often involves a mixture of social engineering and investment fraud, gaining the victim’s trust and tricking them into transferring large amounts of money for various deceitful reasons.

Verification scams, while similar, are a different beast. In this scenario, con artists also gain the victim’s trust, then, under the pretense of leaving the online dating platform for a “safer” communication environment, lead them to a fake verification service.

Fake Verification Platform That Imposes Monthly Subscription Fees

“The verification website prompts the victim to provide information such as their name, phone number, email address, and credit card number to complete the process,” reads the FBI’s announcement. “Once the victim submits the information, they are unwittingly redirected to a private, low-quality dating site charging costly monthly subscription fees. Eventually, the victim's monthly credit card statement displays a charge to an unknown business.”

Personal Data Also at Risk

The service looks like a legitimate platform where victims can verify that they’re not sexual offenders. If they go through with the registration, victims start to bleed funds in the form of monthly fees and inadvertently hand out sensitive data, including their full names, email addresses, phone numbers, and credit card information.

Thus, aside from keeping the ill-gotten funds, threat actors can also monetize the stolen registration data by using it for identity theft or selling it on underground forums.

Tips on Protecting Yourself Against Fake Verification Scams

The FBI’s announcement comes with a series of tips to protect yourself from similar scams, including:

  • Avoid downloading attachments, opening files, or clicking on links from someone you only met online
  • Be wary of moving the conversation off of the dating’s site platform, as most of these services boast safety features
  • Do not provide sensitive data such as your home address, email address, phone number or credit card information
  • Report suspicious behavior to the dating site administrator
  • Contact your credit card issuer as soon as you notice suspicious behavior (i.e., fraudulent transactions)

Dedicated Software Could Boost Your Digital Defenses

Although awareness of the tactics threat actors use to lure unsuspecting victims into their scams is crucial, sometimes it might not be enough.

Dedicated security software such as Bitdefender Ultimate Security can thwart scammers’ attempts to compromise digital and physical security. It encompasses solid protection features, including an anti-fraud mechanism against scam websites and a network threat protection module that automatically identifies and blocks suspicious URLs.

Furthermore, Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection can keep your online identity safe, providing an overview of your data, notifying you of potential breaches, and letting you instantly patch holes in your digital footprint.

Last but not least, Scamio is a next-gen AI scam detection chatbot where you can send any tricky link, text, email, message, or even QR code to get an instant analysis and check if it’s safe.




Vlad's love for technology and writing created rich soil for his interest in cybersecurity to sprout into a full-on passion. Before becoming a Security Analyst, he covered tech and security topics.

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