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5.11.2022 / Fraud Education

6 Tips to Avoid Romance Scams

Romance scams involve a criminal using a fake online identity to pull at a victim’s heartstrings to gain affection and trust. The scammer uses the illusion of a close relationship or romance to influence or steal from the victim. Romance scams are becoming more common each year. In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that $547 million dollars was stolen via romance scams. While dating apps are where most romance scams originate, more than a third of people who lost money in 2021 to an online romance scam said it began on Facebook or Instagram.

Here are six tips for avoiding romance scams:

  1. Be mindful of what you share online. Scammers use that information to gain your trust quickly.

  2. Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile photo and research general info about them to make sure that the picture, name and other details have not been used elsewhere.

  3. Take things slowly and ask a lot of questions. It’s a big red flag if the individual quickly asks you to leave a dating app or social media site to communicate directly.

  4. Requests for financial information or inappropriate photos are another warning sign, along with efforts to isolate you from friends and family.

  5. If you keep making plans to meet in real life and the other person continually no shows or cancels at the last minute, it’s a sign of scam.

  6. Never send money to an individual you have never met.

Don't Go Breaking My Heart

Romance scammers are very adept at what they do and gain trust and affection quickly. The fake romance or close relationship created allows them to steal from their unsuspecting victims. It’s important to remember that technology is a powerful tool for criminals. By being cautious, you can protect your heart and your finances from romance scams.

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