Connecticut Attorney General Tong warns of dating app scams
The Netflix documentary "The Tinder Swindler" is raising awareness of scammers on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong says online dating scams have stolen more than $1.8 billion from American consumers over the last five years.
Tong says a Connecticut woman was scammed by a man she met on Bumble for a six-figure loss.
"He said he needed help for some damaged equipment, I think, was the story he gave her. And she felt bad for him and sent him more than a $100,000," said Tong.
He said scammers target their victims' loneliness and generosity, and usually present some urgent or life-or-death reason why they need the money now.
"Those sorts of ultimatum type, time-sensitive, high-pressure tactics, those are a red flag too," Tong said.
Scams can be reported to the attorney general's office or to the local police. But Tong says once you've paid, it's often too late and the money is usually gone.
When dating online, it can be hard to tell for sure whether the person you're chatting with is who they say they are.
"Try to verify where they live, where they work. Is there a website where they work? Are they on that website?" Tong said.
The attorney general says you should never make major commitments or give gifts to people you've only met online and never met in person.
"It's really hard to trust somebody you've never actually seen in person. Don't send money to people you haven't met," he said.
Tong said the dating apps can be valuable tools for connection, as long as they're used safely.
"I'm not saying don't communicate with people - you should," said Tong. "And if that works for you, that's great. Just be careful."
If you believe you or someone you know has been targeted by a dating scam, contact the attorney general's office at 860-808-5318.