Interpol Warns of Investment Fraud on Dating Apps
Interpol warned that investment scammers may exploit vulnerable users on dating apps, the international law enforcement group said in a statement Tuesday.
In its so-called “purple notice” to it’s 194 member countries, the agency warned that “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,” Interpol said.
The scammers then direct their victims towards trading apps, where they buy their way further and further into the scams under the eye of the new “partner.”
As is often the case with such fraud schemes, everything is made to look legitimate,” according to the international law enforcement group.
“Screenshots are provided, domain names are eerily similar to real websites, and customer service agents pretend to help victims choose the right products,” Interpol said. “One day, however, all contact stops and victims are locked out of the account. They’re left confused, hurt, and worried that they’ll never see their money again.”
The scheme is just one of many cybercrimes which have exploded in popularity amidst the global coronavirus pandemic.
According to Europol, social engineering and phishing attacks remain two of the most common crimes on the web. With an elderly and often non-tech savvy population unexpectedly thrust into remote work, that type of crime has become all the more lucrative.
In addition to the dating app scheme, cybercriminals have latched on to everything from marketing false cures to attacking health care infrastructure with ransomware to exploit the pandemic.
“The Coronavirus Pandemic has slowed many aspects of our normal lives, but it has unfortunately accelerated online criminal activity,” EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said in response to a Europol report on the trend released in October.
“Organized crime exploits the vulnerable, be it the newly unemployed, exposed businesses, or, worst of all, children,” she stressed.