Romance scams have been going on for a very long time, though they boomed on social media, which allowed the scammers to reach out to more people without any investment or effort. Romance scammers are growing their business on dating sites and duping people. As social media has revolutionized the way we communicate globally, it has opened numerous options for con artists to dupe people. Scammers in romance scams plan and play for a long time to gain the trust of the victim. They pretend to have fallen for them in the first conversation they had and want to get along. Fraudsters try to manipulate the victim at some point and make them fall for the scam. To learn more about the romance scam, in this article we will learn about what a romance scam is in brief, and later on we will see the ways we can avoid such scams and how to report a romance scam.
What are romance scams?
With scammers seeking the advantage of the internet, they are seeking to impersonate or fake their identity and gain the affection of the selected victim. A romance scam is an attempt made by the fraudster to make the victim fall for their lies and do whatever they want, even be a part of that scam. The scammer online duping people works mostly under a group or fraudulent company, for which the scammer gets a good salary or commission. They generally use fake profiles to dupe people and pretend to belong to a rich family or have a good income, and they live independently. They use fake photos of attractive individuals to gain attention on the sites and make others fall for their scam.
How scammer ask for money
Scammers generally build a good bond with their victims in order to ask for money. They first try to gain their trust and do what the victims like and agree with everything except meeting physically. They will come up with an excuse for work, a meeting, or something like that. They will try their best to keep their victims engaged. But as they gain the victim’s trust, they come to play and start asking about investment and how one can make their money work without doing anything. They just slowly pressure the victim to invest or suddenly ask for money by saying they are stuck somewhere, they are out of funds, and they need help. In such a situation, the victim feels helpless, and the option of consulting with someone just slips out of their mind. In a panic state, they just go on with the transaction, and later, when the victim tries to get in touch with the fraudster, they just disappear in thin air. Such bad actors and ruthless scammers are running a million-dollar scam market. Now these scammers came up with the idea of asking for Amazon gift cards and other modes of transaction where the loophole in the financial system helped them never get accused of financial scams. As they accept gift cards, people can’t file a fraud case against them.
What are romance scammer tactics?
As explained earlier in this article, scammers try to lure victims into their scam by taking advantage of their emotions and feelings, but most of the time, they follow a pattern of lies to scam the victim. The sole purpose of a scammer online is to dupe as many people as possible, either by stealing their funds or by performing online dating scams. They will start dating for money. Let’s look into the tactics used by the scammer.
The first move of the con artist is to earn the trust of their target. They will try hard to gain their trust and manipulate them into sending their funds. They somehow make their victim believe they are real if they engage with time. Scammers will start their conversation on a call, by sending messages, or by chatting on different applications. They even make their users download some malicious software, which floods the cell phone with viruses.
Meeting in person
Scammers on dating sites build their profiles as they work in the military or on an oil rig. Most of the time, the conman pretends to be a genuine individual on the dating site, and the victim never belongs to the same country. So, meeting a person is never possible, and victims usually believe most of their lies. The con artist will never disclose their real identity or meet someone in person. Most of the time, they make a catfish connection and dupe people just for their money.
The real motive of the fraudster starts here; randomly, they will text you and ask you for money as they are stuck in some emergency situation. They will play mentally with you by saying they need funds for medical purposes for them or for their family members, or their belongings are with a customs officer and they need money to get them back. In such cases, people usually believe, and just to help them, they send money and show humanity, but in turn, these ruthless fraudsters end up cheating them and fleeing with their money.
When a victim is ready to pay, the scammer will ask for the money in the form that they prefer. They want the victim to send the funds, but the victim cannot retrieve them easily. So they try to opt for such options that victims can’t trace them back. Scammers usually choose wire transfers (from MoneyGram or Western Union), money transfer apps, gift cards, or transferring cryptocurrency.
How to Report Romance Scammer? When you are defrauded and your money is stolen, you can easily report the scam to any regulatory body. But first, you should report the scam to your bank or the company. You should share every detail with the bank or company, and they should immediately freeze your assets and try to trace back the transaction. You can report the scam to law enforcement too; they will immediately file the case and start investigating as it is one of the romance scam money recovery options. You can also contact and report the scam to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.
How to protect yourself from scams?
Romance scams involve everything, from emotions to financial assets. It’s just like when your close ones loot you, as they gain the victim’s trust and have daily conversations. So, the best way to protect yourself from scams is to avoid making a connection with them at all costs. You can follow these steps to avoid getting trapped in a romance scam.
- Break the communication with the conman if you sense any suspicious activity or behavior.
- If someone is asking for money or they want you to invest somewhere, try to consult with someone about it—family or a friend—and mention the love interest you share.
- You should always look for the romance scammer photos that you found on the person’s profile. If the person is related to a scam, there are chances you can find the real profile related to the picture.
- You can also search for a job profile that the scammers add to their profile. You can just add scammers after the job profile, search for them, and learn more about those scams and hear stories about them.
Frequently asked questions
If the scammer is rushing you into the conversation and trying to be more emotional, they will express their feelings in the initial phase, and somehow at the end they will bring money and investment options into the conversation. Consider it a red flag, and if they ask for money, just deny it.
You can ask multiple questions to the romance scammer, which can help you spot them easily. Some of the questions to ask a romance scammer are as follows:
- What do you do for a living? (Let them elaborate on their job.)
- Where did you grow up? (Ask them for specific locations.)
- Where did you go to college? (If they answer top universities, then they want to impress you)
- Ask them about their family and their culture, and see if they can speak about it or not.
Concluding this article, I hope it will help you avoid such scams in the future. Romance scams are increasing at a rapid pace; you have to be vigilant and alert about these scams. You can even help your family and friends; if you observe such scams, you should report them to law enforcement immediately. For any assistance/ help you can contact Financial Options Recovery.