Rule Out Romance Scams
Romance scams have become increasingly common, seeing an 80% increase in associated losses during 2021 according to the FTC. These scammers target the heart after connecting with their victim, typically through fake profiles on dating apps and social media. Scammers will take a special interest in the victim, building trust and developing a relationship over time. After they believe the victim is emotionally invested, they will ask for money.
While you may think it’s true love or a genuine friendship, being asked for money is cause for concern. Thankfully, these types of scams have telltale signs that you can look out for to avoid falling victim.
How To Tell If It’s a Scam:
- They Won’t Meet in Person: One of the primary indicators of a romance scam is refusing to meet in person. If they are using a fake profile, this will cause the scam to fall apart immediately. To avoid this, scammers will use excuses like being out of the country for work or travel.
- They Request a Specific Form of Payment: The next biggest tell from these scammers is requesting payment in the form of gift cards, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. These methods are used primarily by scammers because they are quick and difficult to get back. Common excuses for the money can include medical expenses or covering the cost of traveling to meet up.
- They Don’t Want You to Tell Anyone: Keeping the ruse up is much easier if only you know about the new ‘relationship’. If you think you may be targeted, speak with someone you trust. They can provide an outside perspective and raise any concerns.
- Do A Reverse Image Search: Scammers will often pull their fake profile pictures from Google images. This makes it easy to find them out: download their profile photo and then visit images.google.com and click the ‘Search by image’ icon. Then you can upload the profile photo and compare it to the photos online.
- Search Their Messages Online: Many scammers will reuse the same language. If you are asked to send money, search the text they sent online to see if there are any results with commonly used scam language.
What to Do If You Fall Victim to a Romance Scam
- Report the scam to the FTC.
- Immediately notify your financial institution.