Online dating popularity continues to rise, so do associated dangers

Online Dating (Image: MGN Online)

It’s estimated that nearly 34 million people used U.S. online dating sites in 2018, that’s according statusta.com.

There are more than 7,500 dating sites worldwide – more than 2,500 of them in the US – according to datingadvice.com. That same site says 20% of current committed relationships began online.

The latest numbers from eharmony.com say 40% of Americans use online dating sites. And, it’s important to note that not everyone is just looking for a hookup. In fact, the dating app Tinder says 80% of people using their app say they want to find serious dates and long-term relationships.

All of that to say, online dating is becoming more and more common. But with this commonality, comes a warning. Crimes against people who met through dating sites has become more common.

Recent data from opinionmatters shows 53% of people lie on their profiles. Some of those lies are “little” lies that probably won’t hurt anyone. Some women admit to using older photos from when they were younger and thinner. More than 40% of men surveyed said they lied about their jobs to appear more successful.

Dangers of Online Dating

Those using dating apps have to be careful though. Zoosk.com lists several types of scammers online daters should watch out for including people or bots that are trying to get your financial information.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Compliant Center (IC3) releases a yearly report on internet crimes. The report shows there were 18,493 victims of confidence fraud/romance schemes in 2018 at the cost of $362,500,761.

IC3 defines Confidence/Romance Fraud this way: A perpetrator deceives a victim into believing the perpetrator and the victim have a trust relationship, whether family, friendly or romantic. As a result of that belief, the victim is persuaded to send money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the perpetrator or to launder money on behalf of the perpetrator. Some variations of this scheme are romance/dating scams or the grandparent’s scam

One single mother in the Tennessee Valley has another warning for you: watch out for crooks. Jennifer says she used an app to meet a man. She welcomed him into her home only to be robbed by the man. She says he took cash and a phone in his short time there.

Join us Thursday, May 2, on WHNT News 19 at 10:00 for The Lonely Hearts Scam. Hear Jennifer’s warning, and learn how police are handling situations like the one Jennifer is now trying to recover from.

 

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