Purple notice issued by Interpol to warn about international dating app scam
Interpol has issued a Purple Notice to its 194 member countries outlining a specific modus operandi on dating applications.
The threat involves taking advantage of people’s vulnerabilities as they look for potential matches and luring them into a sophisticated fraud scheme.
In the initial stages, an artificial romance is established via a dating app. Once communication becomes regular and a certain level of trust is established, criminals share investment tips with their victims and encourage them to join a scheme.
Victims download a trading app and open an account, buy various financial products and work their way up a so-called investment chain, all under the watchful eye of their new ‘friend’. They are made to believe they can reach Gold or VIP status.
As is often the case with such fraud schemes, everything is made to look legitimate. Screenshots are provided, domain names are eerily similar to real websites, and customer service agents pretend to help victims choose the right products.
One day, however, all contact stops, and victims are locked out of the account. They’re left confused, hurt, and worried that they’ll never see their money again.
Interpol’s Financial Crimes unit received reports from around the world of this scam and is encouraging dating app users to be vigilant, be sceptical and be safe when entering into online relationships. This has become especially important as people turn to online interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic.