Google Hangouts Romance Scams – How To Protect Yourself?
Last Updated on February 28, 2023
There are plenty of us that enjoy flirting with random strangers online. It’s harmless, right? No one gets hurt.
Sadly, no. Thanks to the Tinder Swindler, we know that we need to be careful even on popular dating apps like Tinder. And it’s important to remember that there are plenty of romance scammers just like the Tinder Swindler.
As we rely on the internet more and more, we run a higher risk of falling prey to these scammers, even romance scammers on Google Hangouts.
Alarm bells should be going off when the person you’re flirting with online suggests that you start chatting on Google Hangouts. This article will tell you all about Google hangout scams and how you can avoid them.
Is Google Hangout a Dating App?
Google Hangouts wasn’t created as a dating app. It was initially released in May 2013 as a cross-platform messaging app. With Google Hangouts, people all over the globe can communicate just as they would with Twitter and Whatsapp, for example.
People could use Google Hangouts for various reasons. Businesses partners could use this app to discuss while being in two different locations. Students would use Google Hangouts to talk about classes, assignments, or tests in other situations.
Just like students and business partners, men and women could use Google Hangouts to have intimate and romantic with each other. Sadly, there are many cases where women and even men will fall victim to romance scammers.
The Google Hangouts scams typically happen when a person trusts someone they’ve met online and sends this person some money. For these reasons, people think of Google Hangouts as a dating app, but it depends on who uses the app.
What is a Google Hangout Romance Scam?
So what exactly turns an online conversation on Google Hangouts into a Google Hangout romance scam? Well, it starts with a scammer creating a fake profile on online dating apps such as Tinder and, yes, even Google Hangouts.
Scammers will often contact their intended victims on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. They will often chat or talk to their targets a few times a day to build trust and establish a relationship with them.
Could You be a Victim of Google Hangout Scams?
When you’ve been flirting with someone online, and they’ve suddenly suggested that you chat on Google Hangouts. Now you’re wondering if you might be falling for a Google Hangout scammer.
There are two common questions that people ask themselves in this situation:
Is this person using a fake identity? And, “Is this a real person from the USA?”
Do a background check on the scammer.
When you suspect that the person you’re speaking to is a romance scammer, it’s always best to do a background check on the person you’re chatting with to make sure they’re real. You need to remember some things when doing a background check.
Nowadays, when people think about a background check, they will probably think that it’s only for checking if a potential new employee has a criminal history.
But when doing a background check on someone in a personal setting. Becoming romantically involved with someone online is one of the most important reasons to do a background check on them.
You need to make sure that you can trust someone before you go into a serious relationship with them. By doing a background check on this person, you make sure that this person is who they say they are.
The rules for a personal background check aren’t as formal as those for doing a background check in a professional environment. A company will need your permission to conduct a background check on you in a professional setting.
However, this rule becomes more complex if you are doing a background check on someone for something less formal, such as a babysitter position or an online romance.
In some cases, you might be able to do a simple Google search as a background check. Some information, such as criminal history, is a matter of public record.
How do Google Hangouts Scams Happen?
Millions and millions of people have turned to the internet for their needs. Not only do we use the internet for work, but we also use the internet for romance.
But in today’s volatile economy, plenty of people are desperate for some extra cash and that will get in their pockets fast. Sadly, many of these people will fall into some get-rich-quick money schemes where fraudsters will trick you into giving them the little bit of money you have left.
Thanks to the recent Tinder Swindler case, we are even more aware of scammers lurking on online dating sites and apps. Combine that with people being desperate for money and companionship, it becomes the perfect situation for fraudsters to pounce.
With some scammers, you will be able to figure out that they are just after your money quickly. Some red flags will quickly pop up when you talk to them, but you won’t be able to spot them if you don’t know what to look out for.
Beware The Lies Romance Scammers Tell
According to a 2021 report by the US Federal Trade Commission, people have lost $1.3 billion in the last five years to online romance scams. The report stated that romance scams have “skyrocketed” in recent years.
These numbers are proof that romance scammers are master manipulators and liars. The more patient a scammer is, the more successful they will be. More success means that they will “earn” more money from their target.
They introduce themselves
This is the very first step in their process. The scammer will introduce themselves to you on dating sites and social media apps like Tinder, Twitter, Facebook, or even Instagram. They won’t immediately share their picture if they’re a skilled scammer.
An obvious red flag would be them sending a photo of a handsome man or a beautiful woman before asking you for your photo. You might feel like you’re on a five-minute speed date that quickly went from a friendly “Hello” to an enticing picture and a “Will you be my bae?” All without you sharing anything about yourself.
A skilled scammer will be more subtle with their method. They will want to know where you live and usually tell you that they live in the same city or same country as you.
After sharing some small talk, you will get a picture of an attractive man or woman wearing very little makeup or plain clothes. Then they will ask for a picture of you.
When they think they’ve earned your trust, they will move on to the next step of their plan, suggesting you two switch to Google Hangouts because it’s not as popular as other dating sites or social media sites.
They suggest switching to Google Hangouts.
This is probably the most obvious red flag in spotting a Google Hangouts romance scammer. They will try to convince you to switch to using Google Hangouts instead of sticking to the private messaging on the original social media site such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
In these situations, female scammers will prey on unsuspecting men. But there are some cases where there will be men posing as women.
Some men will look for love on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn. They might get a private message from a woman who is looking for a romantic relationship with them.
After introducing themselves, a scammer (whether they are male or female) will suggest changing from the original social media platform to Google Hangouts and asking for your Gmail address.
Scammers will use Google Hangouts because it is not a popular platform like WhatsApp or Facebook. So when talking to a scammer and they suggest using Google Hangouts, you should see this as a warning sign.
Most scammers might even give you an excellent and reasonable explanation for changing to Google Hangouts. They will even play on your loneliness and desperation for companionship.
Most scammers will have consistent bio descriptions across multiple profiles on different social media accounts to sound more like a real person.
Asking for Money
After they’ve earned your trust and you’ve become infatuated with them, they will start asking you for money. So, in other words, when you fall head over heels for them, they will start pulling at the purse strings! And this should be a HUGE red flag.
The scammer will also pull at your heartstrings by telling you that they have an urgent problem and only you can help them. They will often convince you that you need to prove your care for them by sending them money to “help” them.
Even though this person is a complete stranger, these scammers are such skilled manipulators that you will give them the benefit of the doubt and send them money through bank transfer, gift card, or might even end up buying something that’s expensive.
A veteran fraudster will be able to speak naturally, and they will be highly calculating when they’re earning your trust. They might even create multiple social media accounts with the same photos to make their identity seem more real.
The skilled scammer will ensure that their life stories match whatever photos they post on their social media. This way, their online presence will look more authentic, which will make it easier for you to trust them. Then the sooner you trust them, the sooner the scammer will get their money.
There have been stories where people have lost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars by sending money to their online paramours for an emergency. Their emergencies can range from getting spare parts for their cars, paying for hospital bills, or even getting a gift for a family member. Nothing is off-limits to a Google Hangout scammer.
How to Avoid Google Hangout App Scams?
The most important thing you can do to avoid Google Hangout Scams is to remember all the red flags mentioned above and keep them in mind when you meet someone new online.
Even if a scammer is highly skilled, there is a pattern that most, if not all, scammers will follow. You can also follow steps to try to avoid falling into one of the Google Hangout Scams.
The first thing you can do is check up on this person’s social media. Stalk their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Tumbler.
You are looking to confirm that there are consistent photos and stories across all their social media accounts. If there are photos, stories, and biographic descriptions that don’t match up, alarm sirens in your head should be going off. You might be dealing with a scammer.
The second thing you should look out for is the person telling you that they suddenly have romantic feelings almost immediately after you two started chatting online. Even if they do this in IRL (in real life), you should consider this a red flag.
As much as we love the idea of “love at first sight,” it’s scarce that this happens, primarily online. It takes time for feelings of genuine love and affection to develop between two people. So when there’s talk of love right away, you should be extremely cautious.
The third thing you should look out for is that they suddenly start making excuses when you suggest that you two meet in person before sending any money. If they do this, then they are most likely to be scammers.
Scammers don’t want to meet in person because they don’t want to be tracked. With Google Hangout Scams, the scammers can often be hard to track down. This is because they are doing everything they can to make it challenging to find them.
If you suggest to your online paramour that you meet in person and they suddenly tell you that it would be challenging to meet in person because they live in a remote area or for any other reason, then don’t send them money.
All of the above steps are crucial to spotting a romance scammer, but there is one step that might be more important than the rest. That step is to NEVER send money to a person that you met online.
You should never send money. Even you’ve chatted to them for a while, or even if they have complete and coherent social media profiles. Just because they have a convincing online presence doesn’t mean they are real people.
FAQ about Google Hangout App Scams
How do you report romance scammers on Google Hangouts?
Reporting a Google Hangout Scammer can be a straightforward process. You need to visit hangouts.google.com and follow the web page’s instructions.
The first step will involve finding the person you believe is the scammer and then tapping on their name.
After that, you will need to look in the upper right-hand corner for more options. With these options, you will be able to choose to “Block” them. You can also choose to report them by also selecting the “Also report” option.
When you confirm that you’re sure that you want to do this, Google will send the last ten messages between you and the scammer to Google. They will then go over the messages before they take further action.
Can you track a Google Hangout scammer?
One of the most straightforward ways to track a romance scammer on Google Hangout is by tracking them through their IP address and using IP grabbers. You should remember that it’s considered a crime to track someone all the time, and you might get into trouble for using this method.
To avoid getting into trouble yourself, you should just report the romance scammer instead of resorting to tracking them. By blocking and reporting the scammer to Google, they will go through the process of punishing the scammer and preventing them from using their site ever again.
So it’s best to report and block the scammer so you won’t get into trouble and so they won’t be able to scam other people.
Is google hangouts safe from hackers?
It’s important to remember that nothing is hacker-proof. It doesn’t matter how strong your online security system is or how strong you make your passwords. There’s always the risk of being hacked or scammed.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to protect yourself from hackers and scammers. In fact, taking some cautionary steps will lower your risk of being scammed or hacked.
One of the cautionary steps will involve using powerful antivirus software to protect yourself. This software will be able to detect any suspicious activity that you might come across.
To Sum up on Google Hangout Scams.
In this article, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about Google Hangout scams. From the inexperienced to veteran scammers, there is a similar pattern that they will follow.
The most common and alarming step is that they suggest that you use Google Hangouts instead of other social media/ dating sites and communication apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
Another HUGE red flag is that the scammer will ask you for money or to pay for something expensive. They will make it look like an emergency that only you can help them with.
You should NEVER do this for a person that you’ve met online. No matter how much time you’ve spent talking to them. They will take your money and run, and Google Hangouts will make it difficult to find them again.
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