Criminals don't stop at love online either. Because online dating scams are becoming increasingly popular. According to the Bavarian state government, there are fraud factories in Southeast Asia that are causing billions in damage worldwide.

In times of increasing networking, online dating is becoming increasingly popular. Whether Tinder, Bumble or Lovoo: There are many platforms for finding true love.

But among the many offers on the popular dating sites you will not only find trustworthy potential partners. As the Bavarian State Ministry reports, online dating fraud causes billions in damage worldwide.

Trading Scam: This is how online dating fraud works

Marriage fraud is not a new phenomenon and was popular with criminals long before the success of dating apps. But the marriage scam now known as the “love scam” stands in contrast to the trading scams that are now increasingly occurring.

Because in trading scams, the fraudsters do not make their potential victims believe that they have money problems. On the contrary, they suggest profound knowledge of investments.

According to Bavaria's Justice Minister Georg Eisenreich, the fraud always works the same way. The fraudsters would first build an emotional bond. If this is successful, the victims are persuaded to invest in cryptocurrencies on fake trading platforms or apps.

The Bavarian Cybercrime Central Office (ZCB) has already documented 370 cases on 330 platforms since 2021. The total damage caused amounts to around 29 million euros. This year alone, 48 advertisements have already been received, with 2.6 million euros lost.

Many people don't report the crime out of shame. There is a risk of depression and anxiety. Two victims were so desperate in recent years that they took their own lives.

But it's not just the financial damage that needs to be taken into account here, as Eisenreich explains. The psychological consequences for the victims are sometimes enormous.

What is behind the scam?

According to the Bavarian state government, fraud factories in Southeast Asia are behind the trading scam. According to research by investigative journalists and human rights organizations, tens of thousands of people are being forced into online fraud.

Bavaria's Justice Minister Eisenreich describes what goes on in these factories as “modern slavery”. Because the fraudulent forced laborers are also victims.

They often come from Asian countries and are lured with attractive job offers on the Internet, especially to Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar.

But instead of getting an attractive job, people are then “held captive in large building complexes and forced to commit fraud.”

Mina Chiang, founder of the human rights organization Humanity Research Consultancy, sees an urgent need for action. While hundreds of thousands of people became victims of this cross-border organized crime as forced laborers, criminals amassed billions of dollars “at an alarming rate.”

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