Any fraudulent scheme that takes advantage of an unsuspecting person is considered a scam. Most scams involve taking money from the victim with the scammer persuading them to send money or give their bank or credit card information. Scammers usually use online platforms like social media sites to conveniently hide their true personalities.
In this digital age, common scams include Airbnb, Phishing, online charity, emergency, and romance scams. Romance scams are probably one of the most common scams online that continue to rise as more people look for possible partners online.
So, before even considering sending money to someone you just met, validate their identities first using a trusted people search engine like kiwisearches.com. Kiwi Searches can help acquire the necessary data and guide you on what you need to know about romance scams.
How Do Romance Scams Work?
Romance scams refer to malicious acts where criminals intentionally build close and romantic relationships with their victims, eventually using their trust and emotions to manipulate them. Romance scammers create fake personal profiles and blend in well on the platforms they’re using. Once the victim’s trust is gained, scammers then send out sweet messages to woo their target. The end goal is to get the target smitten enough to send money when asked for it.
After some time of flirting, scammers will ask their victims to lend/send them money. They’ll usually make up stories to convince their target to wire them some money, transfer money to their online accounts, send gift cards, or provide their card/bank details.
In 2020, Romance scams involve around $304 million worth of losses. Tens of thousands of Americans actually fall for romance scams but this kind of scam transcends nations.
Before sending your hard-earned money online, make sure that you are not being victimized by any of the following romance scams:
- Instagram Romance Scams
- Russian Romance Scams
- Facebook Romance Scams
- US Army Romance Scams
- Military Romance Scams
- Tinder Scams
Tips for Avoiding Romance Scams Online
Keep in mind that when it comes to scams, anyone could be a target. Avoid being scammed by a person you met online by learning to spot fake profiles:
- If the profile photo looks like a stock image, run a reverse image search online.
- A fake profile typically has too few friends and/or followers on social media sites. This is especially suspicious if the person has had the profile for a while.
- Check the profile information and profile activity. If there is a lot of information missing or there are too few personal interactions, then those are red flags.
- If the person seems too good to be true, then they likely are.
Avoid falling victim to online romance scams by checking for the following warning signs:
- Your online friend or romance sends professional snapshots instead of ordinary photos.
- They insist on immediately communicating in messaging apps or via email, yet they would avoid meeting up in-person.
- When someone you just met online asks you to send money or asks for your bank or card information – those are red flags. Scammers are often after your money, keep that in mind.
6 Steps To Protect Yourself From Internet Romance Scams
Protect yourself, your identity, and your money from scammers or internet romance scams. Do so using these tips:
- Always be vigilant; be mindful of scammers.
- Do some research – look into the person you’ve matched with or are messaging.
- Don’t send sensitive information to new connections.
- Don’t give out bank, credit card, or identity card information.
- Don’t send money to virtual strangers, even if you’ve grown “close” or romantically involved.
- Keep communications with a match in the dating app. Avoid communicating using your real phone number.
How To Report An Online Dating Scammer
Sometimes, it’s too late, you’ve already fallen victim to a scammer. All warning signs and red flags have been clouded by emotions and affections. If this happens to you, be sure to immediately block your financial accounts and change your credentials on all social media platforms and/or online dating sites.
Once you’ve secured online and card/bank accounts, create and send reports to the authorities. Include all necessary information you have about the romance scammer and all details of the money transfers or financial transactions involved. Below, we’ve listed various methods to report a dating scammer.
Dating Site’s Report a Scammer Feature
Most online dating platforms have built-in safety protocols, including scammer blocking and money-involved scam reporting. Be sure to utilize these to alert the company admin and for them to initiate needed investigations.
The FBI has a specific department focused on addressing card frauds, money laundering, identity and money theft, and other consequences caused by romance scams. File/send complaints to them for a more thorough investigation.
State/Local Law Enforcement Agency
Regardless if you’ve lost money or not, it’s important you file a report with the local police. Even if the scam happened online, you’re still covered by their jurisdiction.