The pandemic has more singles relying on dating apps to make a love connection. All that online activity has led to an increase in the number of romance scams being reported.
The Federal Trade Commission says in 2019 people reported losing $201 million to romance scams -- that’s a lot of broken hearts.
One victim told the FBI she was duped out of $2 million by an online love interest she never met.
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Red Flags of Romance Scams
- They lure you off the dating site right away and ask for money.
- They profess their love quickly but make up an excuse why they can’t see you in person.
- They claim to need money for emergencies, medical or legal bills, or say they’re just too broke to come to see you.
What to do?
- Slow Down. Don’t be too quick to fall head-over-heels in love.
- Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture to see if it’s associated with another name.
- Never transfer or wire money, you won’t get it back.
If you’ve been scammed you need to report it to the FBI. They understand you may feel embarrassed but it’s one way you can feel empowered.
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“What I have said to victims in the past when we’ve gone to them and asked them these questions and they’ve explained how embarrassed they are, ‘this is your chance as a victim to take a little bit of control back’,” said Patrick Wyman, FBI Supervisory Special Agent.
It’s not just the dating apps you need to be cautious on, scammers may also try to connect with you through social media sites. Bottom line, if your heart is telling you one thing but your head is telling you something isn’t quite right, go with your head!