Once you hit your twenties, the awkward, dreaded questions begin:
“Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?”
“When are you going to get married?”
“So and so already has kids… when is it going to be your turn?”
And the worst of all:
“I know a good looking guy/girl, want me to introduce?”
This incredible societal pressure on people to get a date, get married and have children by a certain age is no joke.
Especially since CNY has just passed.
In response, many singles have taken to using dating apps such as Tinder to look for what could hopefully be potential partners.
But are these platforms really safe?
When the Cost Outweighs the Benefits
On 26 February (Tuesday), Malaysian Aw Boo Cheong was sentenced to 5 years in jail after pleading guilty to 17 cheating charges involving $305,750.
In total, he cheated 6 women of nearly $437,000.
Aw, who is jobless, met these women through different online dating platforms such as Tinder and Match.com.
In 2016, the Singapore Permanent Resident struck up an online relationship with a 50-year-old Singaporean woman.
A Self-Proclaimed Trader
He called himself Daniel and claimed to be an experienced silver trader and worked to give her the impression that he was a trustworthy person.
He also told her about a lucrative investment opportunity he thought she would be interested in.
Convinced, the woman handed him $68,250 over the months of May and June that year.
It turns out that his claims were all blatant lies.
Didn’t Use Money For Investments
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Hsiao Tien declared: “the accused was never a trader and had never invested in foreign currencies and commodities. The accused did not use any of the monies for the purported investment.”
Between August 2016 and July 2017, he went on to cheat 5 other women through the dating platforms.
He became creative, asking for money for different purposes such as medical expenses and car repairs.
Again, all were lies: he used the money for his private purposes, including paying off gambling debts.
Between December 2016 and September 2017, the 5 women lodged reports against Aw after realising that he had cheated them of money. After reading about these cases in the papers, the 50-year-old woman made a police report.
So far, Aw has only returned $500 to one of the women. Out of $437,000.
For each count of cheating, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.
This isn’t the only scam case involving online dating apps
31 October 2017
On 31 October 2017, a woman from the United States was scammed $1,900 by a man she met through an online dating app called Hangout. She gave her bank account information to the man so he could access her funds. In return, he promised to marry her when he returned from his deployment, even though they have never met.
4 May 2018
Last year, Australian Jan Marshall was a victim of a online dating scam, lost about $260,000 to a man who first won her trust by getting engaged to her.
After taking her money, he broke off all contact with her.
Using Dating Apps Safely
Dating sites are a hot favourite amongst scammers.
Researchers have found that the majority of people who get conned through fake online romances lose at least £2,000, or nearly SGD $4000.
Indeed, the dangers of dating apps have come to light over the past few years. Beyond just cheating people of their money, scammers use a variety of methods to gain other things like personal information or to introduce viruses into people’s devices.
The following points may help one stay safer when using these dating apps:
- Don’t click links or downloads from sources you don’t trust
- Don’t give money to people you haven’t met in person
- Educate yourself about scamming trends and patterns so that you can spot them
- Don’t communicate with people you haven’t met outside of the dating site—this gives them easier access to your information
- And be suspicious of constant excuses and last minute changes in order not to meet in person
Stay safe and smart, everyone.
Or simply watch this video and you’ll be a tad wiser:
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