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Broken Hearts and Empty Wallets: A Guide to Romance Scam Prevention

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love is in the air…and unfortunately, so are romance scammers. These scams prey on people seeking love and companionship, often online, and can lead to emotional and financial devastation. 

But fear not, lovebirds! By understanding the tactics of romance scammers and taking simple precautions, you can protect your heart and your wallet from falling victim to their schemes. 

What are Romance Scams?

Romance scams involve deceptive tactics used to build trust and affection with a potential victim, ultimately manipulating them into sending money or personal information. Scammers often create fake online profiles, posing as someone they’re not, and target individuals seeking love. 

Common Red flags

  • Moving too fast: scammers move fast, showering their victims with affection and compliments, often within days or even hours of meeting. 
  • Vague profiles and excuses: Scammers frequently fabricate stories about financial trouble, illness, or other misfortunes, manipulating their victims’ sympathy to solicit money. They urge their victims to send gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency.
  • Refusal to meet in person: Scammers will make excuses to avoid video calls or in-person meetings. They often cite work or travel commitments, or family emergencies. 
  • Inconsistent communication: Scammers may disappear for days or weeks, or ask to start communicating by text or personal email, away from the original site you met them on. 

Tips to Protect Yourself

  • Be cautious: Don’t rush into a relationship online. 
  • Do your research: Reverse image search the person’s profile picture to see if appears elsewhere online. Check their name against public records or social media profiles. Remember, the photos sent can also be created by using artificial intelligence (AI). 
  • Never send money: No matter how convincing the story, never send money or financial information to someone you haven’t met in person. 
  • Trust your gut: Don’t ignore your intuition and walk away from any interaction that makes you uncomfortable.
  • Talk to someone you trust: Share your concerns with friends, family or trusted advisor. 
  • Report the scam: If you suspect you’ve been targeted, report the scam to the authorities.

With fraud awareness and caution, you can navigate the online dating world safely and find genuine relationships. Remember, true love doesn’t require financial sacrifices or rushed declarations. Take your time, be mindful of red flags, and prioritize your safety. 

If you think you may be a victim of a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission, your financial institution and your local police. 

For further fraud references please visit our E Fraud Prevention page at