Don’t Fall for Romance Scams

Don’t Fall for Romance Scams

Scammers often try to play on vulnerabilities when targeting victims. So, it’s not uncommon for them to target someone who may be feeling lonely and looking for companionship online. Read on to learn more about romance scams, how they typically unfold, and how to protect yourself.

What is a Romance Scam?

Romance scams occur when a fraudster poses as an individual looking for love, typically on an online dating site.

They begin a conversation with someone on the site and quickly try to escalate the relationship – telling their victim that they’ve fallen in love with them. It’s common for the fraudster to say they live in another country, squashing the possibility of meeting in person in the near future.

Once they have their victim hooked, they attempt to take their money.

How do Romance Scammers Steal Money?

Once the romance scammer has convinced their victim that they’re looking for a real relationship, it’s common for a sad story to begin to unfold. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • They’re so in love with the victim but can’t afford to come to the United States to be with them.
  • They’ve gotten into trouble at home and need help paying a fine or fee they’ve received.
  • A relative of theirs has fallen ill and they’re short on the cash needed to pay their medical bills.

Regardless of the story, the next step is often the same – the fraudster asks for money to be sent their way, often via wire payment.

Once they receive the money, they’re gone. And because it was sent via wire transfer, the funds are usually untraceable, leaving their victim out of the cash.

How Can You Spot a Romance Scam?

While the story the fraudster tells may vary, there are certain red flags that are usually present in any romance scam. The scammer usually:

  • “Falls in love” with their victim quickly
  • Can’t meet in person
  • Lives in another country
  • Has financial problems or a sad story
  • Asks for you to wire cash
  • Encourages quick and urgent action

Protect Yourself from Romance Scams

Being informed about scams is one of the best ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim. If something feels off or causes you to be suspicious, trust your gut and stop communicating with the fraudster.

For more information about common money mule scams, visit our blog.

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