It’s 2019 and you can bet Facebook went there – they have set up their very own dating app. Known officially as “Dating” – Facebook now matches you with other individuals who have provided access to the app, finding matches for you based on their own algorithm which searches your location, events you plan on attending, and interest. With yet another social media dating site on the rise on such a large platform, this will leave the door open for more potential scammers on yet another dating site.
First, How Does Facebook Dating Work?
Facebook dating is available to users over the age of 18. It appears under the tab “dating” on Facebook. This dating platform requires its users to create a separate profile for individuals to use the app. The app finds individuals by your location and matches its users based on their preferences picked out when creating the profile. It also reestablishes your interest based on your Facebook activity. It will not show you individuals on your friend’s list. Instead, if you like someone from your friend’s list, you can “crush” them. As for individuals who they believe are matches from you, you will receive a “heart” or “like” from them. If you “heart” them back, you can match them. Although the dating app is part of Facebook’s platform, it does not associate your current status or information from Facebook. Because Facebook is such a large platform with millions of users, the app has been gaining a lot of traction since its launch.
What Scams May Arise on Facebook Dating?
Like all dating apps, Facebook Dating will have catfishes and con artists who are looking to scam those looking for love. Reports to the FBI has tripled over the last few years. In 2018, Americans lost $143 million in online dating scams. Many dating scams may arise on dating sites, and Facebook Dating. Here are the top 3 that we have seen:
The Sweetheart Scam: The scam goes like this: you meet someone new on the internet and they begin chatting with you. Things quickly progress towards a romantic direction. As time progresses, red flags are seen but often overlooked. The scammer eventually will ask for money, either due to being stuck overseas at a job, needing rent money, medical bills, gift cards, etc. Often in the sweetheart scam, the con artist claims to be in rigging, oil mining, working on a fishing boat, a doctor, or stuck overseas in the military. The sweetheart scam is one of the most costly dating scams due to the feeling of love and a false trust being built. Sadly in this scam, the con artist is likely running the scam on multiple victims. Once the victim pays once, the scammer typically continues to ask for money until it is too late and the victim realizes it’s a scam.
The Blackmail: In these types of scams, a con artist will form a relationship with the victim to blackmail them. Also known as sextortion, the scammer will compliment you and attempt to gain nude or provocative photos of you. The conversation quickly turns sexual. Once the photos and sexual conversation is obtained, the experience takes a fast turn with the con artist requesting money or gift cards in exchange for silence. This scam artist will demand money to keep the photo under wraps and not send it to your friend’s list.
The Bot: This is a classic scam that unfortunately preys on the lonely. This is an online dating scam bot which uses a fake photo and computer algorithm to speak to its victims. Within minutes of speaking, the bot will attempt to redirect you to a website outside of the dating app you are on. This website will attempt to trick you into entering your personal information (such as a credit card on bank account information) to harvest your privacy. Because these are not actual humans, these types of scams are easy to spot, however, millions of dollars are still lost to these sites each year.
The Money Maker: In this scam, an individual begins a friendship or relationship with you. They explain they are a wealthy individual and willing to send you a check to be cashed in exchange for you to purchase a certain amount of gift cards for them. Sadly, by the time you cash the check and send them the gift cards, the check will bounce and you will be out of the money. The money-making scam also can differentiate, saying they need an advancement because they are unable to access funds. This will leave your bank account in a deficit.
The Cheater: As with all dating sites, many individuals are already in a relationship and looking for something outside of their marriage or relationship. With sites such as Facebook Dating, the app does not connect to your personal information, thus causing a large amount of individuals looking for a fling. One must be cautious and consider running a background check to see if the person is already involved elsewhere and using Facebook Dating on the side.
Key Red Flags in Facebook’s Dating To Watch Out For:
- The following are red flags to watch out for when dating online:
- The relationship moves at an extremely fast pace, with the scammer claiming he loves you and needs something from you (cash, gift cards, etc).
- The con artist claims he is a US citizen who is “stuck” abroad in need of financial help, a plane ticket, business deal, or something of monetary value
- The scammer will not speak on the telephone or through video chat & instead only communicate via email or text messaging no matter how long the two of you have spoken
- Multiple typos or frequent spelling mistakes
- As the saying goes, if they are “too good to be true” they likely are
- They request you to purchase anything (gift cards, gifts, wiring money, plane tickets, money for traveling)
- Refusing to meet in person but continuously talking
- Dodging questions, repeating the same answer continuously, or trying to sell you products
- Using what appears to be dated photos or stock photos
What Does This Mean for Private Investigators?
A good private investigator will continuously stay up to date and learn the latest trends online. To stay proactive, an investigator must understand how Facebook’s Dating app works to determine if a significant other is either using Facebook’s Dating or if a victim may be being scammed. Our Long Island private investigators suggest running a background check on all individuals you are considering dating to avoid any potential scams or heartache down the line. Our New York background check investigations include a thorough social media investigation to disclose if an individual is on a dating site when they are already taken. Investigators must be up to date on how to search for names, usernames, fake accounts, reverse image search, deep web search, and additional email addresses to achieve the best results possible.