Scammers will find a variety of ways to make their way into your heart – and your wallet. They utilize dating apps, online chats, and emails to send messages of love, affection, and attention to potential victims in an attempt to trick the victims into sharing their money with someone they have never met.
The Federal Trade Commission reported that in 2022, nearly 70,000 people were taken advantage of through romance scams. This unfortunately resulted in over $1.3 billion in losses for those that fell victim to these fraudsters.
Romance Scam Red Flags
Romance scams usually begin with an overflow of messages from the scammer to their victims. They will send messages of love, affection, and attention to try and establish a connection to their victim as quickly as possible. They will often claim to be wealthy with business interests that require them to travel extensively outside of the country. They will try to establish a relationship very quickly, gain trust, and sometimes propose marriage. When the victim requests to meet in person, they will come up with excuses as to why they can’t.
Once the scammer gains the trust of their victims, that’s when the push for money begins. This request could be to pay for emergency medical bills, monthly expenses, or to help with a new business endeavor with a promise to repay the loan when they return from traveling. The victim will never see a repayment, and the scammer will continue asking for money.
The most common targets tend to be older adults (50+). The intimate and personal information victims provide to scammers can also be used in a variety of other fraud, including identity fraud and financial takeover schemes.
Protect Yourself By:
- Doing your research.
- Being careful of what you post online.
- Reviewing profiles.
- Being wary of profiles that have been recently created.
- Not reacting out of emotion. Think about the logic of the request. Remember, a person you have never met is asking for YOUR money.
Be smart online, especially when it comes to your personal information and money. If you are ever in doubt about the validity of a claim from someone online, it is always better to be safe and protect yourself.
New FTC Data Reveals Top Lies Told by Romance Scammers: Data spotlight also shows large increase in ‘sextortion’ as tool for scammers