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Binance Reveals How It’s Taking Steps To Prevent Romance Scams | #datingscams | #lovescams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | | #dating | #hacking | #aihp

In the early days of the internet, online dating was often derided, with people who met their lovers via a website often being laughed at for being “unable” to find a partner in “real life”. 

However, with the rise of smartphones, we live in a world where the vast majority of people are constantly connected and online, and finding a romantic partner over the web has become so common that it’s now widely considered to be the most convenient way of meeting someone special. 

Online dating has become a global phenomenon and in many ways it’s a very good thing, as it allows people to find and meet individuals in different parts of the world who they would otherwise never be able to connect with. But at the same time, it also introduces new dangers into the dating game – the so-called “romance scam”. 

In a recent blog post, Binance reported that romance scams have become more and more common over time. These days, the vast majority of individuals are quite open to meeting a romantic partner online, and it has created a sea of opportunity for would-be scammers who are intent on tricking lonely souls into handing over vast sums of money. 

How Romance Scams Work:

Romance scams can take many forms, but the general way it works is that the scammer poses as a most suitable partner for the target in question. They begin chatting with the aim of finding out about the target’s likes and dislikes, hopes and aspirations. Based on what they learn, the scammers craft the persona of what seems like an ideal romantic match, claiming to share many of the same interests and goals. 

The scammers employ all manner of tricks. They typically pose as an extremely handsome man or stunningly beautiful woman and post lots of photos, and may even employ AI techniques such as deepfakes to create lifelike videos to fool their victims. They’ll happily engage in video calls where they get to know their target further, and may eventually reach the stage where they plan to meet up in person and even build a life together. 

However, it’s usually at this crucial juncture that the scammer puts their real plan into action. For they’re not interested in romance at all, but rather, they simply want to relieve their victim of as much money as they possibly can. To achieve that, they may try to tempt the target with a supposedly lucrative investment that will deliver attractive profits, or else they’ll pretend to have a financial emergency and desperately need cash. In each case, the victim will be promised significant profits or full repayment of the amount they “borrow”, but it rarely turns out to be true. 

Instead, the scammer will keep asking for more and more money until such time as the victim finally twigs on and realizes they’re being duped. It’s at this point that the romance scammer suddenly disappears into thin air, never to be seen again. 

How “Michael” Fell Victim To “Rose”

Tigran Gambaryan, Head of Financial Crime Compliance at Binance, related the case of a victim named “Michael”, who met a woman called “Rose” on social media. Rose claimed to be a cryptocurrency trader and displayed a keen interest in her new friend, and the relationship quickly progressed until they were chatting every day and making regular phone calls. Rose even showed Michael a fake driving license to try and show she was real and not a scammer. Eventually, Michael grew to trust Rose and finally decided to send Rose some money for her to invest on his behalf. 

He initially began with small amounts of money, and Rose won his confidence by sending him back his “profits” on the supposed investment. This convinced Michael to send much larger amounts of money, and he eventually transferred over $500,000 worth of crypto to his online sweetheart. He even sold his home to fund his investments, and it was only when he had no more savings to invest that Rose suddenly became uncontactable. Luckily for Michael, he transferred some of the funds via Binance, and the exchange collaborated with law enforcement and was able to recover around $200,000 worth of his funds. But the rest was lost forever, and Rose was never identified. 

Binance recognizes that these kinds of romance scams are extremely damaging to the crypto industry, and it’s precisely because of this that it’s lending its assistance to try and put a stop to them. In the blog post, Binance cites data from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which showed that in 2022 alone, there were almost 70,000 reports of romance scams that resulted in victims losing a combined $1.3 billion. Of that amount, around 34% was transferred to the scammers with crypto. 

Binance Strives To Prevent Romance Scams

With Valentine’s Day now upon us, Binance is particularly concerned that romance scammers will step up their efforts to find new victims, taking advantage of the growing and global phenomenon of loneliness. As more people struggle to find their soulmate, some may become increasingly desperate and only too willing to trust someone that promises to be such a perfect match. 

To try and prevent more people from falling victim to such scams, Binance has created a specialist team of more than 70 employees to assist law enforcement agencies from around the world as they try to track victims’ stolen funds. In 2023 alone, Binance processed more than 58,000 requests for information, and it has been able to help investigators track down significant sums of money and return it to victims. It cites one case involving a team of “pig butchering” scammers who stole more than $112 million from hundreds of different victims. With the aid of Binance, law enforcement officials were able to track down and seize those funds, and apprehend multiple individuals connected to the scams.   

Binance is also taking on an active role in educating law enforcement agencies about romance scams and how cryptocurrencies are used to facilitate them. The company has created a dedicated Law Enforcement Training Team and in the last year it organized more than 120 training sessions, online and offline, with police agencies across the world. Moreover, Binance has also created a “risk team” that employs various tools to proactively protect its users from romance scammers. 

Although these efforts are unlikely to put an end to romance scams once and for all, the fact that Binance is raising awareness is a good thing. The more that people know about the prevalence of romance scams, the less likely they are to become the next victim.

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