WAYS TO AVOID BEING A ROMANCE SCAM VICTIM
Romance scammers are smooth operators and can take their time to set their traps. Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media, by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.
- Your new romantic interest sends you a picture that looks more like a model from a fashion magazine than an ordinary snapshot.
- The person quickly wants to leave the dating website and communicate with you through email or instant messaging.
- They lavish you with attention and often overwhelm prospective marks with texts, emails and phone calls to draw them in.
- They repeatedly promise to meet you in person but always seems to come up with an excuse to cancel.
- Do take it slowly. Ask your potential partner many questions, and watch for inconsistencies that might reveal an impostor.
- Do check the photo using Google's "search by image" feature. If the same picture shows up elsewhere with a different name attached to it, that's a sign a scammer may have stolen it.
- Do be wary of flirtatious and overly complimentary emails. Paste the text into a search engine and see whether the same words appear on websites devoted to exposing romance scams.
- Do cut off contact immediately if you begin to suspect that the individual may be a swindler.
- Do notify the dating site or the maker of the dating app on which you met the scammer.
- Don't feel a false sense of safety because you're the one who made the first contact. Scammers flood dating websites with fake profiles and wait for
- Don't reveal too much personal information in a dating profile or to someone you've chatted with only online. Scammers can exploit details like your last name or where you work to manipulate you or to commit identity theft.
- Don't give an online acquaintance intimate photos that could later be used for extortion.
- Don't send cash to someone you've chatted with only online or put money on a reloadable gift card for the person — you'll never get it back.