by: Gina Marini
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While the vast majority of people on dating apps are looking for love, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) said scammers are targeting vulnerable users.
The BBB is urging hopeless romantics to use caution when putting photos, videos and personal information out there.
The scheme, according to BBB’s Paula Fleming, begins when the scammer convinces the person they’re talking with to send them explicit photos or videos of themselves.
Once the victim returns the favor, “that’s when the blackmailing begins,” she said.
“They’re blackmailing you so they don’t expose your pictures online to friends, to colleagues or to the entire world,” Fleming explained.
Fleming said the scammer typically demands money from the victim in exchange for keeping those photos and videos private.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that in 2020 alone, scammers siphoned $304 million out of dating app users, which is a roughly 50% increase from the year prior.
The scheme, according to Fleming, is targeting users from across the country, including in New England.
“We have been notified … by a few people that have unfortunately provided photos of themselves that they prefer not to be public,” Fleming said.
When it comes to meeting people online, whether it be on dating apps or other websites, the BBB suggests keeping your wits about you.
“Once you send a video or photo, there’s no way of getting it back or taking back the action,” Fleming warned.
Here are a few things the BBB suggests everyone keep in mind:
If you believe you’ve fallen victim to a dating app scheme, report it using BBB’s Scam Tracker.
Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
(NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden heads to Michigan Tuesday to promote his infrastructure bill as well as his ambitious social spending plan.
Set to visit a union training center in Howell, Michigan, Biden is expected to talk about how his domestic agenda will benefit Americans.
PARIS (AP) — An estimated 330,000 children were victims of sex abuse within France’s Catholic Church over the past 70 years, according to a report released Tuesday that represents the country’s first major accounting of the worldwide phenomenon.
The figure includes abuses committed by some 3,000 priests and other people involved in the church — wrongdoing that Catholic authorities covered up over decades in a “systemic manner,” according to the president of the commission that issued the report, Jean-Marc Sauvé.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Facebook data scientist has stunned lawmakers and the public with revelations of the company’s awareness of apparent harm to some teens from Instagram and her accusations of dishonesty in its fight against hate and misinformation. Now she is coming before Congress.
Frances Haugen has come forward with a wide-ranging condemnation of Facebook, buttressed with tens of thousands of pages of internal research documents she secretly copied before leaving her job in Facebook’s civic integrity unit. Haugen also has filed complaints with federal authorities alleging that Facebook’s own research shows that it amplifies hate, misinformation and political unrest, but the company hides what it knows.