Online love scams are growing rampant especially among people aged 50 and above, predominately female. MyCert under Cyber Security Malaysia revealed that cyber fraud tops all other cybercrimes. At least 67,552 cases were reported since 2017, and that’s only in Malaysia! They take many elaborate forms, but they are always costly. Although MCA Public Services and Complaints Department reported only 16 cases in 2017, those 16 cases amounted to about RM8 million in losses.
We here at MoneyMatch want to do our part to spread the word about love scams because precaution can only happen when there is awareness. So, how do you know if you are dealing with an online love scam?
Conduct extensive online checks on this person
Typically, scammers never meet their victims in person. Be extremely careful of relationships you’ve formed online and have never met offline. If you have such relationships, it’s best to put your detective hats on and check their social media profiles. Some factors to consider are:
- Do they have pictures of themselves on their social media profiles? Profiles with little to no pictures of themselves should immediately raise alarm bells for you.
- Are there multiple social media accounts purporting to be the same person? Be extremely careful if you find duplicates with the same names, same details and same pictures. Scammers may have stolen identities to shield their own.
Understand the typology of love scams
You are typically pressed to act quickly
Most online scams will build to a pressing incident where you are forced to provide funds in a short amount of time. Some previous examples should act as a reference for you:
- Your alleged lover has flown in to see you but is suddenly held up and not allowed to leave the airport. You are asked to transfer a sum of the fund to guarantee his release.
- Your alleged lover has sent you a parcel but held up at customs office. You are then asked to pay for the tax to release the parcel.
They typically ask for unnecessary information
Why do they need your address? Do they need your phone number? Why do they need to know which bank you are banking with? Your personal information is gold – don’t let it go without proper reasoning as to why they need it.
Be extra careful with personal accounts
Be extremely careful when you are paying into a personal account. Whether the payment may be presented as temporary or a “deposit”, the moment you see a personal name attached to the bank account title you should stop and ask questions.
When it comes to commercial bank accounts, you can check online if there are complaints lodged against such accounts.
What to do when you fall victim to love scams?
Report to the authorities as soon as you suspect that you are a victim to a love scam.
Love scams are nasty because they prey on the vulnerable. So, this is a public service announcement from MoneyMatch to help you and your loved ones stay safe online. If you have a relative above the age of 50, do share this article with them to keep them safe!
MoneyMatch is a licensed digital remittance player. Transfer money abroad safely, securely and as cost-efficient as possible through our fully digital end-to-end services. This article is written as part of MoneyMatch’s efforts to improve awareness on the subject matter and shall not be construed that by using MoneyMatch as a remittance platform, will preclude you from falling victim to any love scams. The information above is solely an opinion piece and MoneyMatch excludes any liabilities and/or responsibilities on the accuracy of the same.
Read up more on cybercrimes here!