How To Avoid Falling Head Over Heels For a Romance Scam

As Valentine’s Day approaches, dating apps are full of singletons wanting to share the day with a potential long-term flame. As unfortunate as it may seem, some people are on these apps for other reasons. You’d think these kinds of apps would be safe from this kind of threat, but scammers are bold and will take advantage of people no matter what, where, or how they want.

Scammers target victims by creating fake profiles, male or female, as the Tinder swindler has quickly shown that women aren’t immune to the trials and tribulations when it comes to finding a partner. Once you are in contact with a scammer, they will tend to do things like love bombing or match their personalities with your own, so you will think you’ve found your perfect match and quickly move from the dating website to more personal forms of communication, whether that be texting or emailing.

While it’s amazing that you can meet people online, there’s always someone who has to ruin it for everyone else, and the anonymity of the internet makes it easier for scammers to target honest and trusting people who just want to form a genuine connection with someone. Therefore, keeping your guard up in more ways than one is always a good idea, and here are a few ways you can avoid your heart, wallet, and identity being stolen. Here are some dating tips to find love safely.

Romance scam

What is a romance scam?

Romance scams are roughly described as when con artists use deceit on dating apps and social media to fool trusting individuals searching for love into sending them gifts, cash, or private information.

Outside of dating apps, con artists can launch romance scams by focusing on chat rooms, message boards, online games (both mobile and desktop), and other social media sites It’s not always straightforward to use dating apps, as some sites now require verification. Scammers may prey on those who have recently experienced a divorce or the death of a significant other in order to take advantage of their vulnerable emotional state.

Scammers can be bold and use their own identity, like their face but might change their name. This might make them appear more trustworthy if you have regular FaceTime or phone calls, but some will try and completely catfish their victims, leading them to believe they are a completely different person. The TV show Catfish has shown hundreds of times how easy this is for people to do.

These romance scammers will eventually ask for money or sensitive information, such as financial account details after they’ve hooked their victim. This information could help them steal your identity. Additionally, they might ask you to move their stolen funds into new accounts, which would turn you into an unwitting participant in money laundering.

Common Tactics Romance Scammers Use

You should have your guard up with strangers anyway, but when it comes to dating, the whole point is to let your guard down and open yourself up to the idea of love and this is what scammers take advantage of. However, you can still be open to making connections without falling for these tactics:

01. Messaging Accidentally

Romance internet scammers will use all the tips and tricks we’ve all been guilty of and accidentally messaging the wrong person is a perfect excuse gateway to opening a conversation that doesn’t start with “hey”.

For example, I don’t know about everyone but when I wanted a boy to message me back in the day on Snapchat, I would pretend to type out a message but never send one. This way, the boy would see my name but not respond, which would prompt them to message me first. This is a very childish teenage girl trick, but scammers are essentially using the same techniques we’ve all been guilty of and want to deem it fate or a coincidence.

Romance scam

02. Love Bombing

Let’s say hypothetically that you have been messaging someone for a week and you’re getting along really well. You seem to have much in common; the replies are quick and you see potential. Then boom, they are love bombing straight away. This could be saying really romantic things like “I have such a strong connection with you” and so on, leading up to the L bomb.

Romance scammers are trying to take advantage of your vulnerability and want to find someone to have a long-term relationship with, so they will pray for those who are sensitive and make them believe this is it and then the week after, they will ask for things like money and private information.

03. Their Camera Is Broken

Some catfishers will message and maybe even speak to you on the phone but will push back and find multiple excuses as to why they can’t video call and with today’s digital advances, there aren’t many excuses you can use now that should look suspicious if a person can’t share a video call.

They might turn on the love bombing tactic or increase frequency to distract from video calling and appear trustworthy or interested. If someone can’t video call or is finding every excuse under the sun, the likelihood they aren’t who they say they are is high. This doesn’t always have to be a video call but pictures that aren’t already on their profile or look like they are from an Instagram account.

04. Always Travelling

Let’s say they have a video call and their faces match their profile and now you are personally ready to take it to the next step and meet in person. If the scammer hasn’t gotten anything valuable out of you yet, they will make excuses like they are traveling or live really far away and can’t afford money for a plane ticket.

The lesson here is that they will always make an excuse and find a way to slip in something financial in hopes you like them enough to sneeze them some cash. While you might think you’ve found someone and they are promising to pay you back, the likelihood is they won’t, and if they are interested, they can find the means themselves. Harsh but true, love knows no bounds and if I had to save to meet the love of my life, I would.

05. If It’s Too Good To Be True

There is a common saying that runs true with every scam, whether you’re an online trader, ordering skincare online in sales, or scrolling through your emails. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. Take what people say with a grain of salt, because selling you the perfect relationship, lifestyle and person is great all on paper, but where is the physical evidence to support it?

While it’s nice to support a friend who isn’t quite a friend, a new relationship should never be transactional in this way. I view it as a question of how well I know this person could be helpful. Have I met their relatives and friends? Have they delivered on any of their promises? You should not be sending them anything and should stay away from the scam if you are unable to respond positively to these questions.

Final Thoughts

Romance scams can cause severe financial and emotional harm by tricking victims into sending money by playing on their feelings of trust and affection. Confirm identities; insist on in-person meetings and video calls. Watch out for warning signs such as a pattern of justifications, excessively glitzy claims, or love bombing.

It is crucial that this doesn’t put you off online dating but instead offers you the tools and opportunity to protect yourself further and make the experience a positive one. This can ensure you find a genuine person who is looking for love.

Recall that something may not be sincere if it appears too perfect or moves too quickly. Sincere interactions and time are the foundation of true connections. If you think someone is a con artist, stop talking to them, report them, and get in touch with the police right away. Getting legal counsel could also aid in recouping any lost money so seek out some support from investment fraud lawyers. Although exercising caution may come across as cynical, it’s imperative to protect oneself from possible exploitation.

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How to avoid falling for romance scam
Lucy Couser