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Romance scammers prey upon feelings, resulting in some of the biggest scam losses – often in the thousands of dollars per victim. Scammers use profiles not only on dating sites but also other social media websites to reach out where you might not be expecting. They use many methods to try to gain your trust. Scammers may make up a noble international profession to explain why they can’t meet you in person. They may talk to you many times a day, making you feel like you really know them. They may tell you they love you very quickly. 

Then, it will happen – they will need money for something urgent. It may be a medical expense, a debt or legal fees, or even fees to travel to meet you. Usually, a scammer will ask you to pay via wire or different types of gift card. Don’t fall for it! 

If you suspect you may be talking to a romance scammer, stop communicating with them! Then, do  your homework. Try talking to someone you trust about your suspicions. Check out stories of other romance scams online and see if your romance is following a similar path. Try a “reverse image search” (or ask someone your know to help) with the profile picture of the suspected scammer to see if it is a fake or copy. Then, if you think you might have been scammed, report it to our office and/or the Federal Trade Commission, and local law enforcement. If you already paid the scammer with a gift card, try to call the card issuer right away to tell them the situation and see if they may be able to refund your money.  

For more information on romance scams, visit the FTC’s website. For more information on Internet scams, see our website.