💔 Online Daters and The Lonely Hearts Club Scam
Single women over 50 are the most vulnerable group for online dating scams, according to a report by the FBI. Criminal organizations have increasingly taken advantage of all age groups and our reliance on dating apps like Tinder in recent years to create fake online personas, establish an online relationship, then ask for money usually via untraceable means like gift cards or cryptocurrencies, says Atlas VPN.
Analysis by the FTC shows that money lost by Americans to such scams have increased fourfold between 2016 and 2020, and rose an additional 65% between 2020 and 2021 to around $500 million. The median dollar amount lost in individual cases was $2,500.
A Pandemic Of Loneliness
The pandemic has seen levels of loneliness skyrocket among the general population, but especially among those aged 18-25. The Harvard Graduate School of Education found that 61% of this age group claimed a "miserable" degree of loneliness in October 2020. The study adds that loneliness caused a slew of issues ranging from depression and anxiety, to substance abuse and domestic abuse.
The pandemic has no doubt pushed Americans online more, and thus made us more vulnerable to online scams. For dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, educating users on the warning signs of scams, as well as monitoring their user base, should become a higher priority.