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Recognizing the Signs of a Romance Scam

Don't Let a Scammer Steal Your Heart and Your Money

Romance scams are an unfortunately common problem, with victims losing large sums of money to fraudsters who they believe are a possible love interest.  According to 2021 FTC reports, the median loss to individuals age 30-39 was $2,000 and $9,000 for those 70 and older.  These scams often target vulnerable people and can have devastating financial and emotional consequences. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of a romance scammer to protect yourself.

Romance scams involve fraudsters posing as romantic partners and asking their victims for money, goods, or services. These scams are typically carried out through social media or dating sites and take advantage of the victim’s trust to gain access to their personal data and finances. The financial impact of these scams can be devastating, with victims losing thousands of dollars in some cases.

Types of Romance Scams

There are several different types of romance scams that fraudsters use to target potential victims.

Sweetheart Scam – As one of the most common scams, fraudsters may contact you via social media or dating sites and attempt to develop a “relationship” with you and gain your trust. They will then begin to ask you for money or goods, often claiming to be in need of help.

Inheritance Scam – Scammers pretend to have a relative or friend who has recently passed away and offer to share their inheritance with you as their new love interest but need your help with the fee to access the money.

Dating Site Scam – After connecting on a dating site, the scammer may share links to their social media sites so you can learn more about them and connect further. However, these links may contain malware, which can allow the scammer to access your personal data.

Red Flags

To protect yourself from becoming a victim of a romance scam, it is important to be able to recognize the red flags of a potential fraudster. These include:

  • Early professions of love
  • Requests for money or gift cards
  • Vague or sketchy background information
  • Inconsistent stories
  • Avoiding meetups or video chats
  • Suspicious dating profiles with few or outdated images

If someone is pressuring you to send money or gifts before getting to know them better, it is likely a scam.

In addition to recognizing the signs of a potential scammer, there are several steps that can be taken to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

Ways to Protect Yourself

  • Take your time getting to know someone before sending any money or gifts.
  • Ask plenty of questions and verify any information provided by the other person.
  • Never give out personal information, such as your banking details or passwords.
  • Never send money to someone you don’t know well.
  • Be cautious of clicking on links you're sent from data sites or profiles within their platforms.

Romance scams are an unfortunately common problem, but with the right knowledge and precautions, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim. Be aware of the different types of romance scams and their potential financial impact and look out for the signs of a potential scammer. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts – it is better to be safe than sorry.

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Identity Protection

Source: Reports of romance scams hit record highs in 2021 | Federal Trade Commission (