Dating apps tend to be a breeding ground for all types of scams. This goes especially for free applications. If you are using a service that you do not pay for, rest assured, you may pay in some other manner. People looking for companionship on these websites are constant targets of phishing schemes that try to obtain personal data. This personal data can be leveraged by cybercriminals to take control of login data, find banking information, blackmail for money (especially considering the sometimes sexually explicit nature of these apps), and much more. And if it’s a case where an employee is using a computer on a corporate network, it could open the company up to serious cyberthreats.
Unfortunately, there is now yet another risk of using dating apps to pay attention to. Interpol has released a security advisory detailing how many popular dating sites and apps are now a breeding ground for investment fraud. The advisory, which was released from Interpol’s Lyon headquarters, reads as follows:
Interpol has issued a Purple Notice to its 194 member countries outlining a specific modus operandi on dating applications. The threat involves taking advantage of people’s vulnerabilities as they look for potential matches, and luring them into a sophisticated fraud scheme. In the initial stages, an artificial romance is established via a dating app. Once communication becomes regular and a certain level of trust is established, criminals share investment tips with their victims and encourage them to join a scheme. Victims download a trading app and open an account, buy various financial products and work their way up a so-called investment chain, all under the watchful eye of their new ‘friend.’ They are made to believe they can reach Gold or VIP status.
As some dating apps have options to connect for purely friendship or business purposes, this investment fraud is even more of a possibility. The Financial Crimes Unit of Interpol has been receiving a large swath of reports regarding this issue, hence the security notice.
To guard against such attacks, there are a couple of options you can use. The first, and arguably best option is to never use dating apps in the first place. They tend to be a cesspool of scammers looking to capitalize on the exploitation of vulnerable individuals. If you must use these apps, however, always assume the worst of people. It sounds harsh, but the only way to protect yourself from scammers is to take on a constant defensive posture.
As it is with anything in life, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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