Updated · May 31, 2023
Updated · Apr 28, 2023
Internet applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have made it easy for family and friends to communicate with each other. For instance, recent Facebook and Messenger statistics show that it’s the second most used messaging app in the world.
Because Google Chat is fairly easy to use, scams involving this platform are one of the most rampant types of scams.
Technology is fast advancing nowadays, and scammers are keeping up. These scammers can trick you into providing personal or sensitive information and extorting money from you. It is important to know how to protect yourself from them.
In this article, discover how scammers use Google Chat to scam people and what you can do to prevent yourself from falling prey to them.
Google Chat was formerly Google Hangouts. Similar to Facebook’s Messenger, it has the ability for real-time communication and unfortunately, scammers have found it easy to use.
Google Mail is the most popular email platform as recent Gmail statistics show. All Gmail accounts can use Hangouts without further setup, which can make it easy for scammers to set up an email account and scam others.
It is often easy to spot a scammer, especially if you look out for the signs. If a stranger you’re chatting with asks you to move the conversation to Google Chat or asks for your personal information, these can be early signs that the interaction is a scam.
However, scammers have become more innovative, and victims often won’t realize that they’ve been scammed until it’s too late.
The most common scams in Google Chat are romance scams. It’s important to understand how these scams work to protect yourself from falling prey to them.
Many people use the internet to try out different ways to make money online. There are a lot of fake ways to make money online. They get people to spend money on their fake ways, then take the money and run.
Every year, a lot of people who want to improve their lives by getting money online fall for these kinds of scams. Here are some of the ways in which romance scams work:
The scammer will first talk to you on whichever site or app you’re both on, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Then they typically convince you to switch to Google Chat and even ask for your Gmail address.
Then, they will typically entice victims to send dirty pictures and even call on video.
Scams are most common among men seeking love or one-night stands online. A woman (or a man pretending to be a woman) may message such a man and tell him she wants to be in a relationship with him.
An Australian psychologist, Monica Whitty, published a paper on romance scams where she reports scammers showering victims with compliments and professing their love and support to get the victim’s attention.
Once you fall for their fake personality and want to meet them face to face, they usually ask you for money.
The scammer might tell you they urgently need your help. Some might even tell you giving them money proves your feelings for them.
Some will threaten to post your naked pictures or videos on social media. It happened to one Reddit user who was a man.
The woman who scammed this man transferred their Instagram chat to Google Chat. She also extracted personal information, along with an obscene video.
She threatened to forward the video to his relatives if he didn’t give her the $500 she requested. Fortunately, she was unsuccessful in extorting money.
Because scammers know the right words to say, victims often give them the benefit of the doubt and agree to send them money. Some victims even give gift cards or gifts bought with their credit cards.
Once they send the money, the scammer usually disappears.
Victims of these scams can lose money from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. One website editor on romance scams lost over $35,000 to an online “dater.”
It’s best to be careful when you’re chatting with a stranger online. Scammers have millions of ways to extort money from people. Knowing how to avoid them can help you protect yourself.
There are many ways for you to avoid being a victim of these scams. Blocking scammers, deactivating your social media accounts, or hiring a firm that does background checks are some of the ways to avoid them.
Many scam victims often post on Reddit telling readers to block scammers and deactivate all their social media accounts. Stopping all interactions with the scammer can help the victim move on with their life.
Another great way to verify the identity of a person and avoid being scammed is through using third-party apps such as Social Catfish.
Social Catfish is a website that allows you to verify social profiles, phone numbers, emails, and other publicly available information.
This website helps check whether the person you’re speaking with is telling you the truth about who they are.
For instance, if a person you’re dating tells you they're a military member, but something about that is fishy, Social Catfish is your go-to app to verify them using their proprietary technology.
The website also has a “reverse image” search function. Users can upload a photo of a person to check if it’s authentic or if they are really who they say they are.
Social Catfish also offers a more costly tool where one of its staff will research and create a full report of the person in question. Having the assistance of a search specialist on their website could be a good investment, especially if you want to go beyond making a simple search by yourself.
Scammers plan everything, from getting you to switch from simple dating apps to Google Hangouts to get your money.
Even if you know their tricks and goals, anyone can catch you because they are pros and have done it before.
Protecting yourself from these scammers is very important. Thus, keep a vigilant approach when talking to strangers online.
Yes. “Sextortion” is another name for a romance scam. The terms “sex” and “extortion” are combined to indicate fraud by threatening the victim via their sexual images and videos.
The owner of Social Catfish, David McClellan, says to be watchful of photos that draw a lot of eyeballs. Many romance scammers use the same fake photos, popular photos on social networks, or steal photos of attractive people in military uniform or porn stars (dressed, of course). They tend to use the exact canned phrases over and over.
You can use Social Catfish for a small monthly fee. You may choose from a range of membership features that can cost somewhere between $5 to $28. Their in-depth search can go for a one-time payment of almost $400.
Raj Vardhman is a tech expert and the Chief Strategist at TechJury.net, where he leads the research-driven analysis and testing of various technology products and services. Raj has extensive tech industry experience and contributed to various software, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence publications. With his insights and expertise in emerging technologies, Raj aims to help businesses and individuals make informed decisions regarding utilizing technology. When he's not working, he enjoys reading about the latest tech advancements and spending time with his family.
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