In what appears to be a new type of romance fraud, singletons looking for love online are seemingly being targeted to invest in cryptocurrency.
In a post in the Facebook group, The Social Media Geekout, a group member has reported that there are numerous purportedly Chinese accounts on online dating apps which contain images of attractive females in luxurious settings who attempt to lure users onto WhatsApp, where they then ask the person to ‘invest in crypto’.
This scam seems to be an emerging type of romance fraud, whereby a person is tricked into entering a relationship before being asked for money.
Each post seems to come with a tell. The grammar used is clumsy, and is common in each case, which is typical of fake accounts or bots.
The Facebook group post goes on to explain: “I never matched with that person, and never exchanged details yet they DMd me”. The usual format on most dating sites sees two people ‘match’ or 'like' each other before a conversation can be had. They can then chat on the native platform or switch to WhatsApp if they wish, with both consenting to do so. This new scam appears to somehow jump those steps.
The example of the WhatsApp chat posted in the group started with a case of mistaken identity, with the “girl” apparently believing that "she" was chatting to someone she already knew. When she was told she had the wrong person, an apology was offered and then a suggestion was made that the mistake could be fate, clearly in an attempt to keep the conversation alive. The “girl” then offered her name and began to ask a number of questions before moving onto the subject of cryptocurrency
In the comments, people responded that they too had seen this type of behaviour on dating apps, and that it wasn’t exclusively girls chatting to men. A Chinese man, allegedly on Tinder, struck up a similar conversation with a user, and one commenter reported that he was approached directly via WhatsApp without ever visiting a dating site in the first instance.
With online dating being so popular, even during the pandemic and the national lockdowns, this scam is one to be mindful of.
For further reading, the BBC ran an article back in February on the increase of romance fraud. Check it out here: Romance fraud on rise in coronavirus lockdown - BBC News
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).