hands of two different people holding a smart phone

Romance Scams


What’s a Romance Scam?

A romance scam is exactly what it sounds like! In this day and age, it is incredibly common to meet and talk to people online, whether it be on dating apps or social media. However, this means it can be difficult to know who you’re really talking to. Catfishing is the act of impersonating someone else to pursue a relationship online. Romance scammers are often catfish. They use fake photos and names to lure in their victims into a false sense of security and trust with them.

After developing a relationship with their victims, romance scammers will then attempt to convince them to send money to them. They may come up with a sob story, say they are travelling outside the country, or are working for an international organization. Similar to the pig butchering scams we recently reviewed, they might ask for cryptocurrency, but may also request money through gift cards, wire transfers, or money transfer apps.

Spotting a Romance Scam

There are a few tell tale signs that you are being targeted by a romance scammer.

1. They offer limited, or hard to verify, information. Your first instinct when talking to someone new may be to do a quick Google search to learn more about them! However, since scammers are using a fake identity, finding anything confirming the information they give you maybe hard to find. They might not have any other social media accounts, including LinkedIn profiles. You may also want to do a quick reverse image search of their profile---this will show you any other profiles associated with the image.

2. They are hard to meet up with or video chat with. Catfishes are notorious for never showing their face on video chat. If the person you’re chatting with has an endless font of excuses for never video chatting with you, you should start being suspicious!

3. They seem to fall in love with you instantly. While love at first sight can seem romantic—be wary of strangers on the internet telling you they have strong feelings for you after only a few days of speaking! If the person you’re talking to declares their love almost immediately, be cautious. This is often a scammer’s attempt to try and quickly develop a deep relationship so you will trust them.

4. They will hint, or outright ask, about money. Scammers may take different approaches when it comes to soliciting money from victims, but there are a couple main methods. The first common device, especially in romance scams, is to make up a personal or family emergency. These ‘emergencies’ often come up when you have made plans to meet them. The second, similar to the pig butchering scams, is to mention a great financial investment or cryptocurrency scheme they have come into. Asking for money should be the biggest warning flag that who you’re talking to is not who they say they are or has ulterior motives in gaining your trust.

5. They ask for personal information. This can be asked for as a way to ‘prove’ your dedication. Never give your personal or sensitive information out. Scammers may also attempt to persuade you to give them your email address of phone number so you can speak outside of the dating app you met on. While it is common these days to chat over text or email, make sure the person you’re talking to is real.


What to do if you’ve been scammed

If you suspect that you’ve been scammed or are in the midst of being scammed, the first step is to cut out all contact with the scammer. This can be harder than you think, especially if you have formed a close relationship with the scammer, but it’s important to stop communicating with them. Block them on any platform they can reach you, so they won’t be able to continue to pester you to send money, or even threaten you.

If you have sent money or given our personal information, contact your bank and change the passwords on your important accounts that maybe compromised. You should also retain records and receipts of any funds sent to the scammer, including gift cards, credit cards, or transfers.

You should also report the scam to https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/ and notifythe dating app you met the scammer on as well.




Related Articles

Ready to open an account or have some questions?

Reach out to us or visit your nearest branch!