Do you know what it’s like to be the victim of a romance scam? Have you lost money to someone who promises love but only takes your money? You’re not alone. Romance scams are becoming more common. The FBI reports that romance scams have the highest dollar amount of losses to victims out of all the online scams. These scams can be devastating for the victims.
In this article, I’ll talk about how romance scams work, what signs to look out for before it’s too late, and what steps you should take after being scammed.
What is a Romance Scam?
A romance scam is a type of cybercrime that usually leverages the promise of a romantic relationship to lure in victims. Romance scams are typically conducted through dating websites, social media sites, and chat rooms where they trick people into sending them money by falsely promising love or marriage.
These scammers will often try to create an emotional connection with their targets before asking for money as payment for travel costs so that they can visit/meet up offline. They might also ask for your bank account information and credit card number so that they can withdraw funds once deposited into your account. Once these scammers have obtained this personal information from you, the chances are high that you will lose all your savings!
What Are the Warning Signs of Romance Scams?
Several warning signs can help you identify romance or dating scams. The five most common warning signs include:
Profile pictures that are too good to be true. If the person you’re communicating with sends you a stunning image of themselves that looks more like the cover of a Vogue magazine than just any old photo, you might be getting scammed.
Attempts to move communication off the dating site platform. If someone is trying to get you off the dating site quickly and into an email or on instant messaging, it could be a sign of them scamming you.
Moving too quickly. If the person on the other end lavishes you with attention before even knowing you — sending texts, emails, and making phone calls at different times of day — it could be them trying to gain your confidence.
A reluctance to meet in person. If someone says they want a date but then always seems to come up with an excuse for why it can’t happen, that person could be trying to scam you.
Communication changes. Scammers may change their writing styles when taking turns in a conversation, indicating that several different people are trying to keep the relationship going at once.
How Can I Avoid Romance Scams?
The absolute best way to keep safe is to avoid romance scams in the first place. Be careful about who you communicate with online. Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are, and many seemingly personal details can be faked.
Next, don’t respond to requests or hints for money and never send money to anyone you don’t know or haven’t met in person. If someone you’ve never met in person starts asking about money, block them and move on. Also, never share personal financial information or your social media accounts with strangers.
Finally, be extremely careful about giving out any personal details. Scammers will use that information to impersonate victims to access their accounts and their money.
What if I’m a Victim of a Romance Scam?
If you think someone has scammed your heart and wallet, report them to the website or social media site where they first contacted you. Let the administrators know what name the scammer goes by and other details that may help potential victims in the future.
Include the scammer’s profile name, pictures, and anything else you have so that the company has enough evidence against him/her to stop future victims from being taken advantage of as well.
Next, it’s crucial to contact your bank as soon as possible if you’ve sent money to a scammer. In some cases, people can track down the person who scammed them and get their money back.
However, that might not be possible in other cases, so it’s essential to report these incidents to the authorities, such as the FBI and local police, and provide as much information as possible about what happened. These details may help federal investigators look for commonalities from one incident to another.
No one likes feeling like they’ve been taken advantage of, so if something seems suspicious or wrong and your gut tells you there’s a scammer on the other end “spinning” their web for more victims, don’t fall for the trap. By looking for warning signs right away, you’ll be able to avoid romance scams before it’s too late, keeping your money (and your heart) for someone that truly deserves them.