Roses are red, violets are blue, and be wary of romance scammers out to get you!
‘Tis the season for L-O-V-E and with that comes the F-A-K-Es. That’s right - dating scammers. We can’t guarantee you much in life but if you’re using dating apps, social media, or any other platform to connect, we promise you’ll encounter a scammer.
And before you think this just happens to women, one research suggests men are actually more often scammed than their female counterparts.
So how can you tell if your cyber sweetheart is swindling you?
If you check more than 3 of these common romance scam red flags, they might love you NOT.
Receive A Text From A Stranger
It's just a wrong number, right? Don’t be so sure. This dating scam is actually SUPER common! Check out this video below - “Kristi” randomly texts with the hope that someone will respond. Many people are on dating apps, so she knows someone will eventually take the bait…like Scott did.
Profile Seems Too Good To Be True
If they look like they're straight out of Swimsuit Illustrated or Men’s Health, chances are the photos are fake and the people aren’t real. Well, they’re real - they’re just not who you think they are and you will never actually meet them.
Too Generic of A Name
Think about it…how many people do you know who are named John Williams? Jane Smith? None, probably.
Immediately Moves Chat Elsewhere
Scammers want to get off the dating app so they are not monitored or worse caught. This is why they will immediately ask for your phone number or email address to continue the conversation.
Relationship Is Moving Way Too Fast
Scammers try to build up trust upfront by giving you a lot of their personal information to make you comfortable in sharing yours. They will also send you love notes and messages full of flirts and compliments so that you fall for them, and quickly. After all, the clock is ticking to get your money! If you're a little amazed how fast the relationship is moving, that's a big red flag to look a little closer.
Scammers love playing into your emotions and what better than a deceased spouse to get you feeling all the feels? If it’s not death, it’s divorce! Simply being a widow or divorcee isn't a flag on its own but being aware how this ruse can be used to nurture a scam can make you a little more careful.
Out of Country, Out of Reach
The ol' expat trick. Scammers will tell you that they live in your country but are away for business or tending to a sick loved one which is the reason why they can’t meet you in person. They will also use this lie when they pitch you an emergency they are having that will only resolve itself if you send money (but we’re foreshadowing a bit here…)
Has An Emergency
Scammers tend to hit you with “feel-sorry-for-me” stories. This can be literally anything from their bank account being frozen to they’ve been robbed to their getting hurt. Whatever the dire situation, it all leads back to you sending them money.
Asks For Money
At some point using some variation of techniques, the scammer will ask you for money in some way. That can be in the form of cold hard cash, gift cards, money transfers, checks, opening a credit line, or even gifts. Be sure if they ask once, they'll ask again.
Scammers will say and do almost anything to get you to do what they want - which is often to send them money. Don’t be disappointed if Mary never came for your birthday - she never really had any intention of seeing you in the first place.
Test your LOVE IQ
Which red flags can you spot? Watch this video to see if Jack is the real deal…or not.
Tips To Avoid Romance Scammers
Your bank account isn’t the only one hurting after a scam - you may feel heartbroken, depressed or even embarrassed after someone you trusted scammed you. Here’s 8 tips on how to avoid romance scammers.
Know the red flags
Simply knowing how a romance scam works can help you identify and avoid one early on.
Evaluate your online presence
The more you share publically, the more scammers know about you…and how to lure you.
Who doesn’t love love? But this is the internet - where you can be whoever, wherever, whenever. Remember, scammers like to move fast to get your emotions hooked and move off of monitored platforms to fly under radar. Steady the pace and be sure to vet your new heartthrob thoroughly.
Google, google, google
Start by searching their name and any information they provided you about them. Second, do a reverse search of their profile picture (and any pictures they have sent you). Google will show you where it pops up online. NOTE: Scammers are getting pretty savvy and can send computer generated images that bypass reverse search. That’s why it’s always best to….
Set up a video chat ASAP
It used to be all you needed to know if a person is real or fake is by seeing their face on a video chat. Most scammers start to get skittish about hopping on a video call which makes a good additional another layer to verify your love interest.
While deepfakes are quickly making video calls less reliable, at the moment it hasn’t advanced to the point it is completely flawless so any little ‘glitch’ in the video is your cue to investigate further.
Don’t send nudes
Learn it from this guy in the video below - he lost his company half a million dollars from a scammer who blackmailed him from compromising photos. Eeek.
Whether appropriate behavior or no, it is a good example of how intertwined our personal and professional lives have become and the importance of keeping the two as separate as possible.
Never send money to anyone you haven’t met
Most scammers prefer anonymity the internet provides so most of us won’t encounter the more brazen likes of the Tinder Swindler types. Even if you’ve had video calls it’s best to never send money if you have not met them in real life.
No matter how bad they make the situation seem, do not give them money, send them gifts, buy them gift cards, or provide your financial information. EVER!
Stop communication and report the scam
If you think you’re being scammed, cease communication immediately, block their number and email, and report the scam.
For more information on romance scams or to join a support group, check out RomanceScamsNow.com.
How To Report A Romance Scam
We're sorry to say that it’s almost impossible to recover your money. There are actually scammers out there pretending to be lawyers or law enforcement just so they can scam people who are trying to recover their money from another scam!
Wild, we know.
That's why you should never pay money to someone who offers you help to recover your money - chances are you’ll be scammed again! Here's what we recommend you can do:
- Contact your bank
- Collect any records of your online relationship
- File a police report
Before you get swept off your feet, make sure you know whom you’re jumping into love with.
Most importantly, continue to educate yourself on the most common scams and you’ll start to be able to identify any type of scam yourself.
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