People should be on the lookout for a new dating site called "InstaMatch," as it is likely a fraudulent platform with fake profiles, according to Belgian consumer protection organisation Test Achats.
According to the organisation, scammers use dating sites to approach and gain the trust of their potential victims. After a while, they start asking for gifts, personal details or money.
Additionally, payment is often also needed to gain access to such a digital dating platform.
"Today, Christophe Ramont, known in Flanders as a contestant of the television programme 'Blind getrouwd', advertised on social media a new dating site, InstaMatch," said Test Achats. "It seems that this is a fraudulent dating site that is likely to disappoint its paying members."
The organisation advises people not to use the website and to certainly not pay a registration fee.
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"The site in question does not mention a company number or contact details. We have not been able to contact them," Test Achats spokesperson Simon November told Het Nieuwsblad. "It could be that we are mistaken, but we do see such fraudulent websites recurring. That is why we want to warn people against such practices."
Additionally, Test Achats will also contact Ramont to inform him that the website in question may not be reliable and that it is extra dangerous if someone with a well-known name connects themselves to a dubious site, according to November.
Figures prove that this type of fraud is on the rise, as the hotline of the Federal Public Economy Service received 1,287 reports of so-called "friendship fraud" or "romantic fraud" in 2020, reports De Morgen.
For comparison, in 2019 and 2018 there were 718 and 382 reports, respectively. The total financial loss since 2016 is estimated at almost €24 million, although this amount is possibly even higher because many people do not file a complaint out of shame.
Test Achat advises users of dating sites to carefully examine whether they are dealing with a real profile, by checking the other's name and photos, and asking the person in question for sufficient information.
Additionally, they also point out not to give personal information just like that, not to fall for emotional stories and certainly not to transfer money.
Suspicious profiles should be reported to the hotline of the FPS Economy here.
The Brussels Times