Fraud Education – Romance Scams

February 2024 Fraud Education Topic

Millions of people turn to online dating sites or apps only to encounter scams. Romance scams occur when scammers create fake profiles and strike up relationships with their targets to build their trust, then make up a story and ask for money. Once the scammer has obtained the trust of their victim, the scammer will ask for financial assistance in some manner.

Requests may include:

  • accepting and negotiating a check for them
  • wiring money to them or their friend, family, attorney, etc.
  • buying gift cards and providing them with the card numbers
  • sending money via cryptocurrency exchanges

All of these scams can lead to the loss of a large amount of unrecoverable funds. Cryptocurrency is an unregulated marketplace and is not backed by the government. Once the transaction is completed, it is unlikely to be reversed. Be very careful when sending cryptocurrency, especially to unfamiliar individuals or businesses.

If you suspect a romance scam, these tips can help you avoid losing money.

How to avoid romance scams:

  • Talk to someone you trust and pay attention if your friends or family say they’re concerned about your new relationship.
  • Take extreme caution with someone asking you for money when you haven’t met them in person yet.
  • Search for the type of job the person has to see if other people have heard similar stories (i.e. Oil Rig Scammer, US Army Scammer).
  • If you are certain you are being scammed, stop communicating with the person immediately.

Learn more about Romance Scams from the FTC here.