Online dating scammers get you to believe that their fake romances are real. They use deceptive tactics to make their scams hard to detect. The overall fraud got the name of a romance scam. Let’s see how a romantic meeting online may turn into a money loss.
What is a romance scam?
Romance scam artists create fake dating profiles on apps and websites or use popular social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. They use these fake accounts to chat and talk with their victims multiple times a day. Once they’ve gained the victim’s trust, scammers create a story and ask for money. Reports to the Federal Trade Commission for romance scams rose by about 80% in 2020 compared to 2021. This led to an estimated 547 million dollar loss for scam victims in 2021. Paying romance scammers with gift cards was more expensive than other payment methods in 2021. The 2021 report also shows that cryptocurrency payments are the most expensive.
The ACCC states that Google Hangouts scams cost victims more than $640,000 every year. But scammers are constantly trying new scams and changing their tactics. For example, romance scam artists are using apps to lure people who aren’t actively looking for love. They also use blackmail and sugar daddies to steal money from victims.
The Lies Romance Scammers Tell
Romance scam liars tailor their stories based on what they think will work in each situation.
- Scammers say they can’t meet you in person. They can pose as an important person who works abroad, constantly traveling and working with very important organizations and companies.
- Scammers will ask you for money. Once the attacker has gained the victim’s trust, he will ask for money for some very urgent needs. For example, for the treatment of a family member, and the payment of a debt or an urgent back ticket. And the story will be very convincing, especially after a couple of weeks of chatting. In addition to everything, scammers can promise you a return of this money in cryptocurrency to interest you as much as possible.
- Scammers will tell you how to pay. All scammers, not just love scammers, want to get your money fast. The way they want your money makes it very difficult for you to get it back. They’ll tell you to transfer money via a company like Western Union or MoneyGram, put the money on a gift card (like Google Play, Amazon, iTunes, or Steam) and give them a PIN, send money via a money transfer app, or a cryptocurrency transfer.
How to Avoid Losing Money to a Romance Scammer
Bottom line: never send money or gifts to a loved one you haven’t met. If you suspect a love scam:
- Immediately cut ties with this person. If you suspect the person you have a romantic chat with tries to scam you, there’s no reason to keep talking to it. Moreover, there is nothing you can probably hear from the scammer – other than attempts to make you pay.
- Talk to someone you trust. Are your friends or family members saying they are worried about your new relationship? And what do they think about trusting this person with your money?
- Do an online search for the person’s job type and the word “con artist.” Has anyone else posted a similar story? For example, search for “oil rig scammer” or “US Army scammer.”
- Perform a reverse image search on the person’s profile picture. Is it associated with a different name or details that don’t match? These are all signs of a scam. Crooks may have a poor imagination and use the same, unedited picture for different scam avatars.
How to Report a Romance Scam?
Contact the company or bank that issued your card or payment method as soon as possible. Explain to them that you paid a romance scam actor and ask them to refund your money. You should report any suspected fraud to the FTC. Tell the social media site or app you met the scammer through too.