To find a partner, millions of people use social networking sites or dating applications. However, many people discover a scammer instead of a romantic who is attempting to con them into sending money. Read about the false narratives used by romance scammers and discover the best method to avoid one.
What Is a Romance Scam?
On a dating website or app, you happen to meet someone amazing. They're going to want to contact you via email, phone, or message soon. They claim to be in love, yet they are separated due to distance or their employment. Then they start requesting payment. Maybe it's for a flight to come see you, or immediate surgery, or a different pressing matter.
Romance fraudsters may contact you through well-known social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook or build phony profiles on dating websites and apps. In order to gain your trust, the con artists establish a rapport with you by conversing with you frequently (sometimes multiple times each day). They then fabricate a tale in order to demand payment.
A record $547 million in losses from romance scams were recorded by victims in 2021. That's an increase of nearly 80% above the reports the FTC received in 2020. Gift cards were the most popular form of payment for romance fraudsters in 2021, according to consumer reports. In accordance with the 2021 projections, bitcoin payments were the most expensive.
The Lies Romance Scammers Tell
Romance scammers modify their claims to fit the circumstances.
Scammers claim they can't personally meet with you. They can claim they're serving in the military, working with an international organization, living or traveling abroad, or working on an oil rig.
Scammers will demand money from you. Once they have earned your trust, they may seek assistance with paying for medical bills (for themselves or a family member), travel expenses to see you, visa fees, or fines to get them out of trouble. They might even offer to mentor you when you begin investing in cryptocurrencies.
Scammers will explain how to make a payment. Not just romance scammers, but all con artists want your money right away. They also make it difficult for you to obtain your money back. They'll advise you to send money via a money transfer app, wire funds via Western Union or MoneyGram, load funds onto gift cards (such as those from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, or Steam) and provide the PIN codes, or send cryptocurrencies.
These actions are taken by con artists to compel you to take immediate action and part with cash. However, it's a scam.
How to Avoid Losing Money to a Romance Scammer
The bottom line is this: Never send cash or presents to a crush you haven't seen in person.
If you think the individual is a romance scammer, stop all communication with them right away.
Speak to someone you can trust. Do your loved ones or friends express concern about your new partner?
Look up the person's line of work plus the phrase "scammer" online. Has anyone else posted anything similar? Search for "oil rig scammer" or "US Army scammer," for instance.
Use the person's profile photo as a starting point for a reverse image search. Is it connected to a different name or to mismatched information? Those are indicators of fraud.
How to Report a Romance Scam
If you paid a romance scammer with a gift card, wire transfer, credit or debit card, or cryptocurrency, contact the company or your bank right away. Tell them you paid a scammer and ask them to refund your money.
If you think it’s a scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Notify the social networking site or app where you met the scammer, too.
If you’d like to learn more about how to identify a romance scam, check out this Valentine’s Day webinar. For more information on optimizing your IT and securing your network, contact RCS Professional Services to speak with an IT professional or visit our website www.rcsprofessional.com.