The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Better Business Bureau reported that the prevalence of online scams has dramatically increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. Online scams come in many forms, from crypto-asset to work-from-home to romance scams. Scammers took advantage of extended lockdowns to scam unsuspecting people who spent most of their time online.
A romance scam involves creating a fake profile and feigning romantic interest in another person online. They use legitimate dating apps and websites to find victims to establish trust and develop intimacy with the intent of deceiving victims out of money.
Older people are typically victims of romance scams, but it is not unusual for younger men and women to fall prey. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of romance scam signs.
Scammers are Quick to Call it Love
Love is such a complicated matter that you better tread with caution when your online lover is quick to fall in love after days of communication. Professing love early on is a way to manipulate your emotions, allowing them to set up their tricks as early as possible.
There are also romance scammers that are quick to propose marriage. If a person only is actively messaging you to build an intimate relationship in a very short period, there is a high probability that you are being scammed.
Agencies such as Payback Ltd help victims get the money they’ve lost from a romance scam. If you’re asking, “Is Payback Ltd legit?” it is prudent to do your due diligence and find out.
Vague Profiles and Little Information Across Platforms
Another sign that a person you’re communicating with is a romance scammer is the vagueness of their online profiles. They will typically use another person’s photos and profile to lure you in. They won’t send or upload too many images as this may give them away.
There are also instances wherein they will only show a portion of their faces, making it harder for you to identify who they are.
They Constantly Ask for Money
Consider it a red flag if a love interest you’ve met through a dating app or website asks for money even before you’ve met them. Romance fraudsters are very proficient at making up tragedies that warrant immediate cash assistance.
To make you more likely to give in to their requests, they will fabricate stories such as medical bills for a family member or payment for travel expenses, so they can come and see you in person. You may feel suspicious at first, but with the emotional attachment and trust that they have established, you are more likely to give in and send them money.
Dating sites and apps have implemented measures to spot scammers and remove them from their platforms. This is why their request communication in private communication platforms instead.
If you were a victim of a romance scam, it is best to report the incident to the authorities right away to stop the fraudster from victimizing other people. Then, file a complaint, so you can receive fair justice and compensation for the emotional and financial stress you suffered from their hands.
Cover photo credit: Sammy Sander / Pixabay