With dating apps gaining popularity, here's how to watch out for online romance scams

Red roses could be red flags. 

"They'll start to really just get into a place where they're building confidence with that individual and really getting to a connection point," said Buddy Loomis, head of global safety stakeholder engagement at Match Group, the parent company of dating apps like Tinder and Hinge.

Dating app popularity has been growing in recent years, along with romance scams. 

Loomis said scammers will often play the long game and may work on getting to know you for months.

"And then it might start off as a small request for financial benefit," she said.

Last month, Match Group launched a new safety campaign. Going forward, users will be receiving warning messages and tips on how to avoid scams. The messages were created with the help of law enforcement and financial exploitation experts.

Comparitech, which conducts cybersecurity research, analyzed data from the Federal Trade Commission and other organizations. Ahead of the release of final numbers from 2022, the total losses estimated to have occurred last year due to romance scams will top $1 billion for the first time. 

For Texas, more than 5,000 cases were estimated to have been reported resulting in more than $80 million lost.

"I think what people can look out for is someone really trying to gain personal information," said Loomis.

While asking personal questions can be perceived as a "green flag," take note of how personal the questions are, how quickly they've gotten personal and what method is being used. Scammers will often try to quickly move the conversation to another online platform. If the match wants to move online platforms, but still does not want to meet in person or video call, that’s a red flag.

Scammers may also feign desperation and urgency, claiming they need money for a medical bill or a plane ticket to visit.

Methods vary, but some of the more recent trends according to the BBB include the "sugar daddy scam," promising to pay someone in exchange for their affection.

In the "cryptocurrency scam," a scammer may promise exclusive trading information and encourage the match to invest.

One recent romance scam that was based out of Austin was reported to the BBB on Feb. 7 of this year. 

According to the report, the scammer matched with the victim on Tinder and then moved the conversation to WhatsApp, before bringing up cryptocurrency and getting the victim to start trading. The victim ended up losing around $500. 

"Just be really vigilant about how much the person is engaging and how often," said Loomis. "Are they asking for things that you wouldn't normally give to somebody that you don't know?"

Match group is also encouraging non-verified Tinder users to become verified and only match with others who are as well.