Online Dating and Catfishing Investigations
An online dating investigation is when a private investigator reveals an online romantic partner’s true identity and motives. Here at UIA, our Private Investigators will gather in-depth information by conducting comprehensive background checks, international digital account searches and reverse image searches focusing on your potential paramour. All the intelligence gathered by our cyber investigators will be formatted into clear, concise intelligence reports designed to put our client at ease and verify their potential lovers’ identity- or to uncover criminal action, prevent future fraudulent activities, and recovering our clients assets.
Millions of Americans visit online dating websites and apps like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid or Match.comevery day hoping to find companionship, love and affection.
What most people don’t consider is that criminals are online, too – looking to make a profit.
A “catfish scam” is a common form of fraud which encompasses cash-forwarding, lonely heart, or money laundering scams by using fake online profiles to appeal to their victims romantically. These scammers use fake names, patterns, and photos to lure in their mark before exploiting them.
The scam usually begins when the victim is contacted online by someone who appears interested in them. They will begin a conversation that can last for weeks, even months. The victim may even chat back and forth with this person to develop trust and build rapport, even sending flowers or other gifts.
Ultimately however, the inevitable will happen—the person you’ve grown so fond of is going to ask you for money. It will be for what seems like a valid reason, a family member being ill or their cash card not working correctly-
however after the payment has been sent, yet another emergency will come up-
and another, and another…until eventually, when you have nothing left to give, they disappear.
Another common scam among Catfish scammers is the “cash advance” or “advance fee” scam. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) states that, “An advance fee scheme occurs when the victim pays money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value—such as a loan, contract, investment, or gift—and then receives little or nothing in return.”
Lately, Catfish scammers have even employed blackmail into their ever growing repertoire of tricks: Upon the receipt of intimate photographs, messages, or personal information, these scammers will then threaten to post this private information on the internet – and will only delete or remove it after they are paid a sizeable ransom.