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Matrimonial & Dating Scams in India: How to Identify & Avoid Them

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Matrimonial & Dating Scams in India: How to Identify & Avoid Them

Matrimonial websites & dating apps designed to help people find life partners are widely popular in India. However, scammers also use these platforms to take advantage of vulnerable individuals looking for love & marriage. 

In this guide, we will examine common matrimonial & dating scams in India, typical tactics used, warning signs to watch for & tips to avoid becoming victimised when using matchmaking services. Being aware of the latest tricks of romance scammers can help protect you from heartbreak & financial loss.

Common Matrimonial Scams

Here are some prevalent matrimonial scams to be aware of:

Fake Profiles 

Scammers create fake profiles on sites like Shaadi.com, Jeevansathi.com, BharatMatrimony etc. using stolen photos & made-up details. They express interest & build a relationship with the aim of eventual financial fraud.

Dowry Extortion

After expressing interest in marriage, the scammer pressures the victim into paying escalating dowry sums, then ceases contact once the money is paid without any intent to marry.

Immigration Fraud 

The scammer aims to marry only to gain residency or citizenship in another country, then abandons the victim later. 

Financial Fraud

Scammers convince victims to give money for various sob stories emergencies, health issues, business troubles etc. Then disappear with the money.

Identity Theft

Scammers obtain IDs, passport details & other documents on the pretext of preparing marriage paperwork, then use them illegally. 

Blackmail 

Collecting compromising photos, videos or information & then threatening to make them public if their demands are not met.

Keeping your guard up when interacting with prospective matches on matrimonial sites is important. If a profile seems too good to be true, it most likely may be.

Common Dating App Scams

Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble & Hinge are also happy hunting grounds for romance scammers. Some typical scams include:

Catfishing 

Scammers use fake profiles with attractive stolen photos & make-up details about high-paying jobs, expensive lifestyles etc. to trick victims.

Romance Scam

Building an emotional bond & gaining trust with constant loving messages before asking for money for an “emergency”.

Upselling Scam 

Directing victims to another dating or adult webcam site that requires paid membership or credits to continue chatting.  

Blackmail 

Using threats to expose private photos, conversations & intimacy details shared unless blackmail money demands are paid.

Identity Theft

Gathering personal details under the guise of wanting to get to know someone, then using it fraudulently. 

The anonymity of dating apps allows scammers to easily spin tales & fake identities. Proceed with caution when meeting people online.

Warning Signs of Matrimonial & Dating Scams 

Watch for these common red flags when interacting with potential matches:

  • The profile seems too perfect with model-like looks & a wealthy lifestyle.
  • Evasive about personal details, family, work & location details that can be verified.
  • Profile not verified on matrimonial site or lacks details compared to others. 
  • Quickly wants to move the conversation off the dating site to communicate via email & messaging apps.
  • Professes love & desire for marriage unusually quickly without ever meeting in person.
  • Mentions financial troubles, family medical emergencies, losses from a robbery, business problems etc.
  • Hesitant to have a video call for flimsy reasons or pretend the camera doesn’t work. 
  • Requests to borrow or transfer money for any reason should raise suspicion. 

Trust your instincts if you have a feeling something is amiss, cease contact before the scammer succeeds.

Tips to Avoid Matrimonial & Dating Scams

Here are some tips to identify & avoid scams on matchmaking platforms:

  • Review profiles carefully for inconsistencies, grammar issues or anything that seems suspicious.
  • Perform an image search on profile photos to see if they are taken from somewhere else.
  • Look up the person’s name, location, company details etc. to verify identity.
  • Check matrimonial profile matches on social media sites to validate identity there. 
  • Insist on a video call before taking the next steps of meeting or sharing personal information.
  • Go slow sharing personal details like address, ID details & financial information with new matches.
  • Avoid wiring money or sharing credit card/bank details with anyone you meet online.
  • Use privacy settings on dating apps to limit who can view your entire profile.

Being proactive with verification & limiting shared information can help avoid becoming entangled in dating & matrimonial scams leading to heartbreak.

How to Report Matrimonial & Dating Scams

If you discover a fraudulent profile or encounter an outright scam attempt, be sure to report it:

  • Report fake profiles or scams directly to the matrimonial site or dating app. 
  • File a complaint with the Cyber Crime department of the local police.
  • Report ID theft attempts to relevant government departments like the passport office, transport department, etc.
  • Contact the Cyber Crime Helpline at 1930 or the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center to provide information about scammers that may aid investigations.
  • Use public forums like Facebook or LinkedIn to help warn others of marriage or dating scams.

The more vigilance there is around reporting these scams, the higher the chance of perpetrators getting caught & preventing harm to others.

Key Takeaways

Finding a life partner online calls for extra precaution. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Scammers heavily target matrimonial sites & dating apps with fake profiles & emotional tricks.
  • Warning signs include evasiveness, sudden profession of love, requests for money & limited profile details.
  • Verify identity through social media cross-checks, image searches & video chats before becoming invested.
  • Avoid sharing personal financial information or sending any money to online-only matches.
  • Promptly report any scams you encounter to help prevent other victims.

Stay vigilant & trust your instincts when interacting with matches. Don’t let scammers take advantage of your search for love.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What should I do if I discover I’m being catfished on a dating app?

Immediately stop contacting the person, report their profile to the dating app for fraudulent activity & run a reverse image search on their photos to turn up their potential source. Be wary that they may be targeting others too.

Are matrimonial sites safe for finding serious relationships leading to marriage?

Reputable Indian matrimonial sites like Shaadi & Bharat Matrimony do screen profiles & have anti-scam measures. However, users should remain cautious about sharing personal data & verifying matches independently before progressing too far.

What’s the best way to determine if someone’s dating profile is legitimate?

Insist on a live video call where they can verify identity. Cross-check details like workplace, university, locations lived, etc. Conduct image searches on their photos. Review their social media accounts for consistency & whether details can be corroborated.

Is it normal for matches to ask about details of my finances or income early on?

No, it’s a major red flag if new matches enquire about assets, income, investments, credit scores or other financial details quickly. They may be targeting you for financial fraud. Avoid disclosing any sensitive information until the match is fully verified.

What should I do if I’ve already been victimised by a matrimonial or dating scam?

Immediately cease all contact with the scammer. Report them to relevant sites & authorities to help prevent continued victimisation. Contact your bank to see if they have gained access to finances. Place fraud alerts with credit bureaus if personal identity details are compromised. & learn from the unfortunate experience.

Can matrimonial sites be held liable if I’m scammed using their service?

Matrimonial sites & dating apps typically disclaim liability but may be willing to ban fraudulent users if reported. Check their terms of service. Document details of interactions & scam attempts to strengthen your case when reporting. But avoiding being scammed remains an individual responsibility.


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