You have probably noticed that the media is increasingly warning about so-called scammers - but what exactly are they, and what is their intentions?
What is a scammer?
Scammers are people who create fake profiles on various social networks. Love scamming is very popular and common. They aim to gain the trust of their victim and use them for financial purposes, basically marriage fraud.
How to detect a scamming account
Scamming profiles can be both, male and female. Regardless of their gender, scamming accounts are easily identifiable. The female profile picture will most likely be one of a very attractive woman with very little clothing. Common occupations of female scammers are Nurse, Doctor, Teacher, Actress, businesswoman, or Model. Male scammers also choose profile pictures of attractive men, often claiming to be engineers, architects, sociologists, vets, or former soldiers. Often, they speak and write perfect English. It can also be that they write perfect German. They probably worked with translation tools if their text messages sound odd and don't make sense. This is when your alarm bells should go off.
Additionally, they give many compliments and are very charming. Male scammers behave as if they were genuine gentlemen. They also respond quickly, no matter what time it is. It is common for them to tell you that they come from toxic relationships, or had a difficult childhood. Male scammers often claim to be a single father, or that their wife and children have passed away.
This is how they proceed:
Step 1: Getting in touch
The scammer reaches out to their potential victim on a platform and immediately attempts to switch platforms. They often ask for the victims' E-Mail address or phone number.
Step 2: Gaining trust
After that, scammers try to gain the trust of their victim. For instance, by creating a detailed profile that shows their job, hobbies, favourite places they've travelled to, what they wish to do in the future, and more.
Step 3: Confessing to being in love
After the scammer becomes aware of the potential victim's romantic interest, they begin to lavish them with compliments and love messages in a short timeframe. Usually, the victim thinks that they have found the perfect partner to spend the rest of their life with.
Step 4: Wants to meet up, but cancels and needs financial support
The scammer would like to meet with their victim in person. However, just before the meeting, they pull the plug. The reason is that they are in debt, have a sick family member, or they don't have enough money for the flight. After being convinced by the scammer, the victim transfers the money.
How to protect yourself:
- Do not give out your personal information ➞ To chat, stay on the initial platform.
- Suggest a video call ➞ If the person refuses or tries talking their way out of it, get suspicious!
- Never transfer money to people you don't know personally.
- If the behaviour or profile of a person seems odd, report the profile. We will have a closer look at the profile.
To report users, tap on the profile of the user, then on 'More' and finally on 'Report user'.