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Beware of Romance Scams

Updated: January 10, 2024

Have you ever used an online dating website? There’s a chance you may have interacted with a romance scammer. People are falling prey to these scams every day. Scammers will use fake photos, personas, and stories to reel you in to take advantage of you and your finances. The Federal Trade Commission reported a loss of $1.3 billion to romance scams in 2022. About 18% of people who have lost money to a romance scam chatted on a website or app, and 40% met their scammer on social media. In this blog, we’ll share valuable tips on how you can protect yourself from romance scams.

How to Spot a Romance Scam

Romance scams typically target individuals seeking love on online dating platforms. Scammers will manipulate their victims into thinking a romantic connection is blooming between them. Once the victim forms an emotional connection, the scammer will convince them they are in love… and that’s when the requests for money begin. It’s typical for scammers to ask for money while avoiding ever seeing the victim in person. 
Common excuses for not meeting in person include:
  • Living overseas
  • Stuck in the hospital
  • In the military
  • Working long hours
Online dating website on a tablet
Hand holding a phone with hearts coming up. Another hand holding phone with dollar signs coming up.

Reasons for Needing Money

Scammers will come up with all types of reasons for needing money. They may seem like legitimate reasons, but they’re not. These scenarios include:
  • Visa and travel documents
  • Plane tickets
  • Medical expenses
  • Gambling debts
  • Custom fees
  • Money for relatives

Receiving Money

Scammers want money fast with no strings attached. Whether it’s once or multiple times, Launch CU Fraud Specialist, Eveline, says people can drain life savings before they know it. The top three ways scammers want money are:
  1. Wire, Bank, or Credit Transfer
  2. Reloadable cards like MoneyPak
  3. Gift cards like Amazon or Visa
Person counting money
Heart icon in a message bubble

Avoiding These Scams

The #1 way to avoid these scams is to NEVER send money to someone you’ve met online. Protect yourself and your sensitive information by using these tips:
  • Never give personal info: social security number, address, etc.
  • Never disclose banking credentials
  • Never reveal the amount of money in your accounts

If someone you met online is requesting money from you, consider that a red flag. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to block that person and report them. Remember, scammers are very manipulative and convincing. It may seem like you have a real romantic connection with them but it’s all a part of their plan. For more information on how to stay safe online, check out our blog, 6 Tips for Staying Safe on Social Media

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