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Beware of Romance Scams

With COVID-19 forcing more singles to connect online, America’s most expensive scam is on the rise. Romance scams are all over the internet and can be difficult to spot. Here’s what you need to know about these scams.

HOW THE SCAM PLAYS OUT
In a romance ruse, a scammer creates a bogus online profile and attempts to connect to singles on dating apps and websites and through social media platforms. After they form a connection, the scammer builds up the relationship with the victim. Once the scammer gains the victim’s trust, the scammer spins a story asking the victim for money via wire transfer or prepaid debit card. After receiving the requested funds, the scammer disappears. Alternatively, the scammer asks their “date” to share personal financial information and then empty the victim’s accounts.

HOW TO SPOT A ROMANCE SCAM
Watch out for these red flags if you’re looking for a new date online:

  • Profile is too good to be true

  • Single rushes into the relationship

  • Single asks for money

HOW TO PLAY IT SAFE ONLINE
Avoid falling victim to romance scams and similar ruses by following basic online safety rules:

  • Never share personal details online with anyone whose identity you cannot verify.

  • Only visit secure sites and keep all the settings on your social media pages private.

  • Never engage in conversation with a stranger who sends personal texts or emails with no prior communication.

  • Do not send money to anyone online.

IF YOU SUSPECT A ROMANCE SCAM
Take these steps to avoid further damage if you believe you’re in a romance scam:

  • Research the name on the profile to see if the details check out.

  • Do a reverse-image search of the profile picture to see if it’s a stock photo or an image plucked off the internet.

  • Stop all communication with the scammer if your research confirms your suspicions. Block the scammer’s number and spam their emails.

  • If you’ve already paid a romance scammer with a prepaid gift card, call the company that issued it to ask them to refund your money.

  • Report the scam to the FTC .

Follow the tips outlined above to keep your love life scam-free. Click here for more details on our commitment to regulatory compliance and keeping members informed.

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