Matrimonial Scams on the Rise: The Need to Stay Safe

Falling in love and finding one’s soulmate is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world. Today, with the advent of technology, youngsters often take to online platforms to meet, and fall in love with “the right one”. From messages replete with sweet nothings, and moments filled with the anticipation of meeting one’s true love, love is definitely in the air (or in their chat messages). While many do find their true soulmate via online portals, there is a catch – it is not always risk-free.

In an era where online scams are on the rise and taking on more sophisticated forms, matrimonial sites have opened newer avenues for scammers to prey on vulnerable men and women. The most common modus operandi used by fraudsters is essentially identifying vulnerable people, leveraging their emotions, becoming a part of their lives, and eventually duping them, leaving them shattered, and left to pick up the pieces themselves.

In the recent past, cases of people befriending their victims on online portals with the promise of marrying them has seen a significant rise. From conning victims to part with money to the tune of tens of lakhs, to the promise of taking them abroad or making their wildest dreams come true, scammers stoop to new lows in order to make a quick buck. In December 2020, a Mumbai based teacher lost a whooping Rs. 9.5 lakhs in a fraud involving a prospective groom who claimed to have sent her a gift that was stuck in customs. After a few days of chatting with the scammer, the victim received a call from a person posing as a customs agent informing her that she had a diamond ring and cash gift waiting to be delivered, upon clearance of the customs charges. Enamoured by the thought of the grand gesture, the woman believed the person on the other end of the phone and paid the sum that was demanded. It was only after multiple calls and threats from the scammers, as well as her potential groom ignoring her, did she realise that she was scammed.

Due to the rise in such cases, there is a heightened need to be aware of the dangers involved when using matrimonial websites. Before entering into a long term commitment, and making what is arguably the most important decisions of one’s life, running even a basic background check can save a person from emotional and financial distress.

Through the help of professional services that are adept at handling such cases, one can get a 360 degree view of a potential partners’ family background, social reputation, financial status, criminal record, verified residential details and a lot more. And while some might argue the triviality of this process, the rise in scams counters such arguments and lays huge emphasis on its importance.

They say love is blind, but one should not be complacent or too trusting about it. Simple things like never sending money to a person whom you have never met, or sharing explicit content, or any other sensitive information can make all the difference between falling for a scam and being saved from a scam.

At the end of the day, one’s feelings are a very sensitive factor to be played with. The repercussions of falling victim to an online scam could be fatal, which is a situation best avoided; afterall, better safe than sorry is the best piece of advice that can be given when perusing online matrimonial portals.

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