You’ve heard of romance scams. But do you know how they happen? They start when scammers create fake profiles on dating apps or social media. Then, those scammers strike up a relationship with their targets and work to build trust. Sometime later, they make up a story and ask for money.
So how do you spot a romance scammer? Here are some things to watch for:
- Any love interest who asks you to give them money on a gift card, by money transfer, or cryptocurrency is a scammer. Period.
- Romance scammers profess love quickly. They might say they can’t meet you because they’re overseas for business or military service — but, during the pandemic, they might just say they’re locked down.
- Romance scammers might try to lure you off the dating site.
- Scammers will find a reason to ask you for money — maybe to buy a phone card to keep chatting, maybe to help with a “medical emergency,” or maybe something else.
- Romance scammers sometimes build interesting dating profiles. But try a reverse-image search of the profile pictures. Are any photos associated with another name, or with details that don’t match up? That’s just more proof that it’s a scam.
If you’ve spotted any of these signs of a scam, tell the online dating app or social media platform right away. And then tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov