Social media creates an opportunity for young women and men living in socially conservative non-western societies to be able to communicate and meet and engage in forbidden intimacies and forbidden behaviors.
We regularly see plenty of online stories on dating apps and social media expressions, where men and women who pose as wealthy individuals promising love, and marriage to gullible victims and they disappear once the victims are financially/sexually exploited.
The alarming number of such cases reported lately reflects the flagrancy of the problem and what we have noticed is most of the victims are middle-aged men and women from well-to-do upper-middle-class families who are well educated and have access to technology.
Top Four Digital Romance Scams :
(i) Proposal turns extortion
(ii) Pretty Woman is a Man
(iii) Making Gay Man Pay
(iv) I have your Sex Recording
Most Common Romance Scam in India :
The pattern observed in many of the cases, I have your sex recording is inevitably the same. Mr. Kumar (Name Hidden) was working as a software professional in a highly reputed MNC firm and is often busy with the system and as the privilege of work from home has been extended during the covid-19, he was also on social media on 24*7 from the mobile.
Someone pinged on WhatsApp, Saying “hey :)”. On curiosity he checked the display picture and she looked like a model and he started chatting and she was so friendly and she told that she was in the same colony where he resides and the entire story was knit and It felt too good to be true.
After a couple of days passed by, She started flirting and teasing him and he became curious and continued conversations with her. One day she responded, hey 🙂 would you like to have a look at me, let me surprise you who I am and she insisted him to be in a closed room?
She started undressing live slowly and got nude and Mr. X pleasured himself live on WhatsApp. The experience quickly took a U-turn, when the woman told him she had saved pictures/screen recordings of their brief cyber-sex session and was going to send them to everyone he knew. She demanded money to stop that. He panicked and paid money in ransom (Sextortion) in lakhs…
Tips Identify the Romance Scammer :
- Most of these are men/women who are posing as a middle-aged targets, Who are financially sound to take advantage of their vulnerability and riches.
- Scammers are usually quite adept at copying stuff (fancy profiles) from other websites and start blindly using them for communication.
- Inconsistencies between their dating profiles and what other public profiles
- Love at first sight
- Interested in engaging in intimate activities online
- Sending short links to access their profile’s etc
- Create fake stories like family members unwell or processing visas or sending gifts.
- Someone unknown is trying to flirt or come nude in a live session.
How to Safeguard Yourself :
- Never indulge in online chatting, dating or get emotionally involved with people without verifying who they are and the truthfulness of their claims.
- Never send money or your personal details to online strangers or online social media friends.
- Online follower asks to communicate outside the dating website or social media platform after only a few ‘contacts’ or conversations
- Do an https://www.tineye.com or Google Reverse Image Check (https://images.google.com ) image search of your fan to help determine if they really are who they say they are.
- No sharing of intimate pictures or videos online. Scammer are known to blackmail their targets using past shared pictures or videos of you that you don’t want others to see.
- Beware that there are so many pitfalls to digital romance, it could be fake profile pictures, fake profiles, unclear motives, unbalanced emotional people, unclear past behaviour and mostly those are the people who are on the lookout for just sexual relationship.