Ever heard of people, especially ladies, being on a dating website looking for love and this “nice talking guy” happened to chat them up. This is a familiar romance scam game. You generate interest days on end talking and gaining his trust. After a few weeks of chatting, he tells you he is going to send you presents. The next day you receive a call to send money for your “presents” to be released by customs. You happily oblige and send money. Little do you know everything from love to money will disappear in thin air! This brings us to our topic of romance scams and how to avoid them.
What Are Romance Scams?
A romance scam is a “love” generated with an aim of extorting money from one of the partners. The perpetrator preys on elderly victims many of whom are widowed or divorced or generally lonely. He or she assumes fake names and trolls dating sites such as match.com Christian dating, afro dating, etc searching for targets.
Once they have gained trust from their victims they make up stories about why they need money like taxes to release an inheritance, money to clear goods from customs, essential overseas travel, etc. They then siphon money from their victim’s accounts. A lot of money at a time. The perpetrators rely on victims’ lack of internet knowledge and sometimes their grief and loneliness. As the victims open their souls and heart, the scammers open their wallets.
It is estimated that more than 20,000 people lost more than $600 in 2020 alone. The scammers will then proceed to intimidate and berate their victims, ruining their lives then disappearing.
What You Need to Know About Romance Scams
Millions of people turn to online dating to meet someone, but instead, they find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money. The scammers strike up a relationship with their victims to build their trust. Sometimes talking or chatting several times a day, making up stories that eventually lead to asking for money.
These are the common lies romance scammers tell
- They are living or traveling in the United States.
- Working on an oil rig.
- In the military.
- A doctor with an international organization.
Romance scammers may ask their victims to;
- Pay for surgery or other medical expenses.
- Pay custom fees to retrieve goods.
- Pay for a plane ticket or other travel expenses.
- Pay for a visa or other official travel documents.
- Pay for gambling debts
Scammers ask you to pay by wiring money with your credit cards or gift cards because this way they can get money quickly. They also know this kind of transfer is almost impossible to reverse.
How to avoid losing money to romance scams
If you suspect a romance scam then please;
- Stop communicating with the person immediately.
- Talk to someone you trust and pay attention if your friends or family say they are concerned about your new love interest.
- Do a search for the type of job the person has to see if other people have had similar stories.
- Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture to see if it’s associated with another name or with details that don’t match. This raises a red flag.
- You can use also take that image and search for it on commercial photo websites such as Shutterstock.
Here are some warning signs that an online love interest might be fake;
- The person tells you to chat off the dating site as soon as you connect.
- They ask you to send money using money gram or western union
- They set up a new account.
The first step towards avoiding such scams is to always say a BIG NO to any requests to send money. It doesn’t matter how desperate they are, just decline the request and block them completely. Never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you have never met in person.
It is important to note that you can still recover funds lost to romance scams by using the services of Scam Help. Experienced funds recovery professionals will take up your case and pursue the funds. Please start with this FREE CONSULTATION.