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Love Gone Wrong: Romance Scam





A romance scam is a type of online fraud where criminals create fake identities and form romantic relationships with individuals on dating websites, social media platforms, or other online spaces. Their ultimate goal is to manipulate and deceive victims into sending money, personal information, or even engaging in illegal activities. These scams can be emotionally devastating for victims who believe they are genuinely forming connections with someone.


How Romance Scams Work:
  • Creation of Fake Profiles: Scammers create attractive profiles using stolen photos and fabricated personal information on dating sites and social media platforms.

  • Building Trust: Once a connection is made, scammers invest time and effort into building trust and rapport. They engage in extensive conversations, seeking common interests and vulnerabilities to exploit.

  • Exploiting Emotions: Scammers prey on victims' emotions, they might share fabricated stories of personal struggles, tragic events, or challenging circumstances, evoking sympathy and a desire to help from the victim.

  • Financial Request: After establishing an emotional connection, scammers inevitably introduce a financial crisis. They might claim urgent medical expenses, unforeseen emergencies, or visa fees to visit the victim. The request for money is often framed as a temporary setback that can be resolved with the victim's assistance.

  • Disappearing Act: After receiving money or personal information, scammers disappear, leaving victims heartbroken and financially devastated.


Tips to avoid falling victim to a romance scam:
  • Scammers often rush emotional commitment so it’s important to not rush into an emotional commitment. Take your time to get to know someone before sharing personal information or sending money and be cautious of anyone who declares love too quickly.

  • Be careful what you post online. Scammers can use details shared on your social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.

  • Use reverse image searches to check if profile pictures are stolen from other sources.

  • Avoid sharing sensitive information like your home address, workplace, or financial details until you've established trust in a genuine relationship.

  • Insist on video calls to verify the person's identity.

  • Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse on why he or she can’t.

  • Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.

  • Stay informed about common scam tactics to recognize potential red flags in conversations and behavior.


Reporting Romance Scams:
  • If you paid a romance scammer with a gift card, wire transfer, credit or debit card, or cryptocurrency, contact the company or your bank right away. Tell them you paid a scammer and ask them to refund your money.

  • If you think it’s a scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Notify the social networking site or app where you met the scammer, too.



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