According to the AARP announcement, Americans lost $82 million to online dating fraud in the last six months for 2014. AARP thinks that dating web sites could do more to protect their members by:
· Cracking down on scammers by identifying and shutting accounts of those who pay with stolen credit cards, cardecking IP addresses to verify profiles’ listed locations; employing algorithms to detect suspicious language patterns used by scammers; and using image searches to identify fake profiles used across various dating websites.
· Issue early warning alerts to any member who has been in contact with someone using a fake profile.
· Educate members with tips on how to spot and avoid romance scammers and provide resources and contact information for those who have been victimized.
The online announcement provides an easy to fill out petition to submit to AARP. AARP says it will deliver the petition to the top dating websites such as Match.com, eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk, OK Cupid, SeniorPeopleMeet and Out Time.
Comment: Getting to most scammers is very difficult. Most scammers in schemes like the romance scam are beyond the borders of the U.S. and therefore beyond the jurisdiction of most law enforcement agencies both local and national. AARP’s strategy is to convince online dating sites to get involved to protect their members. If the sites voluntarily take measures to limit the scammer’s access to legitimate members then the effectiveness of romance scams should be greatly reduced. While not eliminating the scam 100%, the actions proposed should help protect online dating consumers. There are no guarantees that this effort will succeed in bringing the online dating sites on board, but it is a start in finding effective ways to fight this new form of crime.
To see the announcement with a video explaining the scam and tips to avoid it go to: