Scammers are using stolen pictures from the internet to build fake profiles on social media sites, or dating websites. These criminals eventually try to coerce you into sending them money.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, romance scams has increased by 50% in the last two years. They also report in the last three years, people claimed losing more money on romance scams, than any other type of fraud.
The American Banker’s Association reports that people ages 40 to 69 were the most likely to report losing money to romance scams, and people 70 years and older reported the largest amount of losses at $9,475.
Signs of a Scam :
Claims to need moneyfor an emergency, such as hospital bills or travel, or plans to come visit you but can’t because of an emergency.
Criminals may claimto be overseas for business or military service, which is why they can’t meet you.
Check their pictures- scammers usually steal attractive people’s photos from social media and pass them off as their own. Google has a “Reverse Image Search” tool that allows you to copy and paste the photo, so you can see if it’s someone else’s photo.
Check their grammar- look for misspellings, broken or confusing sentences, or large amount of capital letters. Pay attention to any unusual or inconsistent writing styles.
Be wary if they try to get you off the dating site- most online dating sites have a customer support team to monitor users for unusual or suspicious activity. These scammers want to get victims away from any sort of protection, and will encourage you to take the conversation offline. It’s best to communicate through any monitored platforms until you’re able to verify the legitimacy of this person. Explore the communication tools within the dating website, for example some dating websites have the capability of video chatting. Do not give out your address, and be protective of your personal information, like phone number or email address.
Professes love quickly- these criminals are skilled in being charming and making you feel like you can trust them. Most people prefer to take things slowly, but these scammers will often try to rush things. Consider getting an honest opinion of any suspicious messages by sharing with a trusted family member or friend.
What to Do
Never transfer money- from your bank account, buy gift cards, or wire money to a love interest online. This is a scam and you will not get this money back.
Slow down- and talk to someone you trust, such as a family member or friend. Don’t let a scammer rush you. They will often create a sense of urgency to distract you, and get you to act quickly. Remember, love is patient.
Contact your bank right away- if you think you’ve sent money to a scammer.
Report your experience to:
- The online dating website – most websites have a customer support team to monitor and respond to reports of strange behavior or scam attempts.
- Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov
The best defense we have against these criminals is to stay alert, and be aware of the tactics they try.
Check out our “We Don’t Ask That” hub for more information on current scam tactics, information scammers want, and ways to protect yourself.
 5 Ways to spot an online-dating scammer, Reader’s Digest