The Internet is a marketplace for all things, and love is no exception. Those looking for a romantic connection have no shortage of dating websites and mobile apps to turn to for help. But, if you’re not careful, you may attract someone interested in stealing more than your heart.
Amidst those looking for legitimate relationships are scammers who prey on the desire for companionship. According to the FBI, there are specific red flags to watch for that commonly accompany romance scams. Keep your guard up if someone:
- Seems to fall in love quickly and profess strong emotions.
- Presses you to communicate privately outside of the dating app.
- Shares an unusually glamorous picture of themselves.
- Makes plans to visit you, but then cancels, perhaps due to a tragic event.
- Asks you for money for a variety of reasons, such as medical bills, travel or a financial setback.
So, what should you do if you start to wonder if a potential romantic interest is truly looking for love?
- Be cautious about sharing sensitive personal information.
- Don’t communicate outside of the dating app you’re using, where it will be easier for a scam to go undetected.
- Save copies of your communications.
- Offer to involve the proper agencies or authorities if your love interest asks for help or money.
- And most importantly, never send money to anyone you’ve only met online, no matter how heartbreaking or compelling the reason. If the story is fraudulent, your chances of recovering the money are very slim.
If you’ve already become the victim of a scam, don’t stay silent. Report it as soon as possible to help prevent other victims. Here are places to report romance scams: