Investing scams on dating apps
Investing scams on dating apps
Dating apps are becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, scams on these apps as well. We already discussed in a previous article how to identify potential financial scams, and the suggestions provided there are still valid. At the same time, in dating apps there are some differences that I want to share with you in this article. The story you are going to read happened to me, and I hope it can help you to avoid such situations. But before that, let’s have a look at some numbers.
How serious is it?
First of all, according to the website scamalert the number of such scams in Singapore (where I live) is quite high. In November 2019, 211 cases were reported with an estimated money loss of more than 27 million SGD. If you read the posts on the website, you will realize that there are many versions, where the scammer is asking the victim to “invest” in forex, cryptocurrencies, commoditie like gold, or some penny stock in the Hong Kong market. My story is related to the latter.
The girl from Hong Kong
A few months ago I was in touch with a girl from Hong Kong on one of such apps that I cannot mention. After a while, she wanted to continue the conversation outside the application, using WhatsApp or WeChat. Then, the topic moved to investing and trading. She said that a friend was giving her tips on stocks that would have increased in price a lot in the Hong Kong market. So I checked, and it turns out all of them were penny stocks (i.e., low price, low volume, easily manipulated). She was very persistent, and she kept asking to place the trade and send screenshot of the transactions. A little suspicious, don’t you think so? Then one day she told me that there was a sure win stock, that I could bet all my money on that. The stock ticker was 8316 in the Hong Kong market, Pak Wing. It was September, 25th 2019.
At the time I checked the stock, the trading price was 1.26 HKD. So I decided to buy, and I sent her a screenshot. She was not happy because I did not put all my money, but anyway. I had lunch, and when I came back I realized the price did drop a little. Nevermind, she said, it will bounce back. Well, it didn’t. By the end of the day, as you can see from the picture below, the price dropped more than 70%.
I wrote to the girl to ask what happened, but no reply. However, I was not feeling angry or nervous. Later I tell you why. In the following days, the price kept dropping and currently, it is more than 92% below the purchase price of 1.26 HKD. Imagine if, as suggested, I did bet all my money on that!
Pump and dump
This is a typical pump and dump scheme, where many people buy a penny stock suggested by the scammer(s) so the price rises. The more the price rises, the more people buy for fear of missing out (notice the huge increas of price before the crash). Then, the scammers decide to take profit selling the shares at a high price, and the buyers realize a huge loss. But you may be wondering, how could I not be angry or nervous as I wrote? Was it because of the NLP methods I shared, such as reframing, that I was able to do that? Actually this would have helped, as you realize when you read the linked article. At the same time, the explanation is much easier. I did buy the shares in my demo account, hence I did not lose real money.
Eventually, after a few weeks, she wrote again as nothing happened, saying that there were other hot stocks. She was not happy when I mentioned that I was not interested. After telling me she knew I did not buy for real the stock which dropped more than 92%, she stopped writing me.
Profile of a dating app scammer
Even though this story ended well for me, it could have been much worse. Unfortunately, many people lost real money on similar scams. And this is only one story, there are many more like that. Interestingly, I noticed similarities among the profiles and behaviors of such dating apps scammers, so I list them here. They are relevant to South-East Asia, but I believe that similar considerations can be extende to other areas.
- Good looking girl, usually from Hong Kong
- She asks you to move to other chatting software like WhatsApp or WeChat
- She just left or is about to leave the country where you are, so you cannot meet her
- She mentions that a friend/uncle/teacher gives her tips on how to make money in forex/crypto/stocks, and she will share that with you
- She pushes you to bet money.
I hope this will help you. I also made a YouTube video to share more about that, you find it below. What about you? Have you ever experienced something like that, or do you know someone who lost money in such scams? Leave a comment below so others can benefit from that. The best way to reduce these scams is to raise awareness among people. Thanks for your help!
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