Romance scams are a type of fraud that involves criminals using deception to take advantage of victims looking for companionship. These scams typically involve criminals posing as potential partners on dating websites or social media platforms.
They can often use fake profiles and photos. And they often claim to be from another country. The scammer’s goal is to gain the victim’s trust and then ask for money, gifts, or steal personal information to commit identity theft.
The scammer can ask the victim for money to come visit them or to cover the cost of a phone so they can speak with them. Once the victim sends money, the victim will likely never hear from the love interest again.
Romance scams can be very costly for victims.
In 2021, Americans lost over $547 million to romance scams. The median loss for victims of romance scams was $2,400, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Relationship scams are also a type of fraud that involves criminals using deception to take advantage of victims. These scams typically involve criminals posing as potential partners and building a relationship with the victim, similar to pig butchering scams.
These scammers are in for the long con and build a relationship with the victim for months and even years. Again, the goal is to gain the victim’s trust and then ask for money, gifts, or personal information.
In relationship scams, the victim may send thousands of dollars over a period of years to the scammer.
How to Protect Yourself from Romance Scams and Relationship Scams
Here are some tips to help you avoid romance scams and relationship scams:
- Be aware of the signs of a scam.
Scammers often use the same patterns and techniques, so if you know what to look for, you can be more likely to spot a scam. Some common signs of a romance scam include:
- The person you’re talking to is very charming and attentive.
- They are in a hurry to move the relationship forward.
- They ask for money or personal information, such as your bank account number or Social Security number.
- They disappear after you send them money or personal information.
- Do your research before meeting anyone online.
Check their social media profiles, look for news articles about them, and see if there are any reviews or complaints about them.
- Be careful about what information you share with anyone online.
Never give out your personal information, such as your bank account number or Social Security number, to someone you don’t know and trust.
- If you believe you have been the victim of a romance or relationship scam, contact your local law enforcement agency.
You should also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC can help you file a complaint and get information about how to protect yourself from scams.
Protecting your personal information with IdentityIQ services is also essential. Scammers can use your personal data to open credit cards, apply for a car loan, or even commit crimes in your name.
An identity theft protection plan provides you with alerts for possible suspicious activity, so you can act fast and get in front of scammers.