Love is in the Air Ahead of Valentines Day; But Romance Scammers are Also Lurking Around

Love is in the Air Ahead of Valentines Day; But Romance Scammers are Also Lurking Around
Cover Image Source: Romance scams (representative image) | Pexels | Photo by Lisa Fotios

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and while it's an opportunity for people to seek love, they may also attract unwanted attention from cybercriminals waiting to execute romance scams. In the digital world, love can be a click away, and so can be frauds. Thus, here’s everything that investors need to know about romance scams and how to be safe.



 

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What are romance scams?

As per the CFTC’s advisory, romance scams involve fraudsters offering financial services or investment advice on dating apps or social media in the pretense of a relationship or love interest. The criminals interact with the victims for weeks as part of grooming, pretending to be interested in a relationship before pitching a fraudulent scheme.



 

 

The number of such scams has vastly increased with the proliferation of online dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and Match.com, as well as social platforms like Facebook and X.

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According to a report from the FTC, in 2022 alone, approximately 70,000 people admitted to falling prey to romance scams. The FTC documented about $1.3 billion in losses, echoing an alarming year-over-year increase. The report indicated that senior citizens were more vulnerable to romance scams, with reported median losses reaching $9,000 compared to the general average.

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Cryptocurrency has also become a go-to option for these scammers due to the decentralization and perceived anonymity of the currency. In 2023, CFTC highlighted that over $3.5 billion was siphoned off by these financial romance and grooming gangs by soliciting Americans with popular romance scam tactics.



 

 

If a potential date looks out of your league, then the match might be too good to be true. If the pictures look like that of a fashion model, it might be a fake profile. In case the person on the dating platform quickly wants to leave it and use other means of communication like email or text, it may be another sign of a scam. If the person pours extra attention and is texting 24x7, this may also be a sign that they want to win your affection and lure you into a scam.

One thing that most scammers do is that they avoid meeting people in real life. They come up with excuse after excuse, such as military service, or work at an oil rig and employment abroad. Further, they assure people that their investment advice is sound or they can be trusted with private information.



 

 

Take things slowly and ask the person a lot of personal questions that reveal their true identity. In case they are inconsistent with their image, they could be an impostor.

Always verify the dating profile images of your potential partner using Google’s Search by Image feature. In case, the picture shows up on another website as someone else, it is a sign that the picture is stolen.

Following this, cut off contact immediately in case any of these suspicious signs are verified. Never reveal too much personal information or any financially sensitive information to people on dating/social media platforms.

Never share intimate or private photos/information with online acquaintances as they can be used for extortion. Don't send cash or cryptocurrencies to people met on dating platforms, no matter what the reason is.

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