Ask Sabiha: A Weekly Column on How to Protect Yourself against Cyber Villains
Hi, my name is Sabiha and I’m a student at Roosevelt just like you. I am working with Roosevelt’s technology department in Cyber Security. I am also a junior in the Cyber Security program. You can ask me about cyber security, phishing emails, emailing scams, and anything that has you worried about your own data security!
So, let’s get to it…
Romantic phishing, also known as catfishing, is another ploy devised by scammers to manipulate people out of money. Catfishing is a term used to describe a situation when the person you are romantically involved with via the internet is pretending to be someone they are not. However, in cyber security this extends to phishing scams primarily involving monetary motivation. Such scams begin on dating and/or social media apps, the FTC says. Scammers post phony profiles: such as using other people’s images from other pages, using fake identities, or even impersonating someone else.
The relationship evolves quickly with confessions of love and eventually leads to requests for money. The reasons for needing the money are very clever, most commonly is so that they can travel to see you or for emergency medical purposes. They will not come see you or have any medical needs, yet they will continue to ask for money. If you’ve give money once, they will continue to ask knowing that you are willing to give it. “Americans age 40 to 69 reported losing money to romance scams at more than twice the rate of people in their 20s. But those 70 and over suffered the highest median loss – $10,000,” based on FTC reports.
Here are red flags that the person you’re dealing with is not to be trusted and what you can do to avoid taking the bait:
- She requests that you wire money or to cash a check or money order for them. Never send money or gifts to a potential love interest you haven’t met in person.
- The “relationship” becomes romantic extremely quickly, with quick pronouncements of love or close friendship. Talk to someone you trust about the person. You may be blinded to obvious signals by the excitement of the relationship.
- He claims to be a U.S. citizen who is abroad, very wealthy, or a person of important status. Ask questions and be suspicious of inconsistent answers.
- She makes excuses about not being able to speak by phone or meet in person. Try doing a reverse image search of a profile picture. If it’s linked with another name or details that don’t match, it’s a scam.
- He quickly asks you to communicate via email, instant messaging, or text messaging instead of the online dating sites’ messaging services.
- She claims to be American but makes frequent spelling or grammar mistakes that a native English speaker wouldn’t.
Source: Fraud.org, FTC.org
To report an incident:
- Cut off all contact with the person
- Report their profile on the site and or/ app where you encountered them
- File a complaint with the FTC.
Check out more Cyber Security articles under the Cybersecurity category on the right!
Also, let me know what else you would like to learn more about!