A new scam on mobile dating apps, like many other scams seen over the last year, is taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has put financial stress on many individuals and made social interaction and meeting new people nearly impossible. Dating apps have seen a huge surge in users and researchers have seen four million online dating fraud and abuse attacks in 2020. On January 19th, Interpol issued a notice outlining a new technique used by scammers on dating apps such as Tinder, eHarmony, and Bumble. Once a scammer is matched with a user, they develop a relationship to create trust. Once regular conversation is established the scammer turns the conversation to finance and offers investment advice. Eventually, the user is convinced into downloading an investment app that appears legitimate, and they are promised they can work their way up an “investment-chain.” Once the scammer is satisfied, they cease all contact and the user is locked out of the investment app, leaving all the money to the scammer. Interpol states they have had multiple reports of this scam and urge users to be vigilant when entering into online relationships.
Always be vigilant when you are approached by someone you do not know—do not engage in financial transactions with unknown individuals. If an investment seems too good to be true, it likely is a scam. Check app reviews, analyze domain names and emails. Do not disclose personal or sensitive information. For individuals who are victims of this investment scam, notify financial institutions immediately so they can monitor accounts for suspicious activity and report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement agency.