The Top Ten Scams of 2014 is out and the top love scam is catphishing. It has been around for years but mutates as does our social media.
Catphishing – A romance scam in which a fraudster pretends to be someone they are not on an online dating or social media website, for the purpose of taking money or personal information from their targets.
For those with an online profile on any of the multiple dating sites available to us, it can start innocently enough with a friendly hello and some comment about your profile, usually of a complimentary nature. If you reply the game is afoot. Usually there is an exchange of email addresses to take communications outside the dating site itself.
Other social media sites like Facebook are also prime for catphishing, especially those with very relaxed or no security settings. Young people can be particularly vulnerable. Lisa Shaw, Senior Director, Child Online Safety and Protection at SpectorSoft, in an article for Parentingtodayskids.com says “unfortunately, kids and teens can be lured into unsafe situations because they truly believe they are building a relationship with a boyfriend/girlfriend who is a peer, when in reality they could be talking to a predator.”