Romance scammers will do anything to steal their victims’ money. They create fake profiles using other people’s photos and proceed to catfish their victims on dating apps and social media sites. By pretending to be someone they aren’t, they flirt with their victims in order to attract their responses. Once the victim responds back, the romance scammer uses a scammer’s playbook to copy-and-paste flirtatious messages to the victim. This makes the victim fall for their scammer at a faster-than-normal rate. Once the victim trusts the scammer fully, they start asking for money without ever stopping. This is why it is important to know how to avoid romance scams this April Fool’s Day.
What are Romance Scams?
A romance scammer is a type of catfish who pretends to be someone they aren’t. They form false romantic relationships with their victims online and trick them into thinking that they are a real person. They have a scammer’s playbook, which is a list of things that a romance scammer should say in order to make their victims fall in love with them.
Once the victim is head over heels in love with them, the romance scammer starts coming up with excuses as to why they need extra money. These excuses can range from needing groceries, needing a new cell phone, needing to pay hospital bills, or needing to pay for a work emergency. They will also promise to pay their victim back and claim that it’s the only time they will ever need money… but both of these promises are lies.
Once the victim sends the romance scammer money, they only demand more money. They are never satisfied with what they are given. They will continue to ask the victim for more money every single time until they drain their victims’ bank account. Once they take every penny they can from their victims, they block them since they have no use for them anymore. This leads the victim to feel heartbroken and ashamed that they fell for this romance scam.
5 Ways to Avoid Romance Scams
#1 Video Chat Them or Meet Them In Person
If you are talking to someone online and they don’t want to video chat with you or meet you in person, this could be because they have something to hide. In the 21st century, everyone has access to a device that has a webcam or a video camera that will allow people to see your face.
Even with poor signal, you can still video chat someone with low-quality video. You are also able to video chat even if a camera is broken since a smartphone usually comes with a front and back camera. If their lips don’t match their voice, this could also be a sign that their video chat is fake.
If someone can’t meet you in person, it is vital to video chat with them. This will show you who they really are, and you will be able to see who the person really is. If they only call you or text you, this could mean that they are hiding their face and are hiding behind someone else’s photos.
#2 Don’t Send Them Any Money, Gift Cards, Items, or Personal Information
If someone you met online is asking you for money, then chances are they are a scammer. Most people would go to their close friends or family members that are close by if they need help financially. No one would bug the person they just started dating online for money unless they were trying to scam them.
This also applies to gift cards and items, such as cell phones. Scammers will ask for these items so that they can turn around and sell them on various websites. They ask for these items so that it looks less suspicious than just asking for money. Also, by giving them your personal information such as a name, birthday, SSN, bank account information, etc. it is possible that they could commit identity theft.
#3 Don’t Move the Relationship Too Fast
Romance scammers move the relationship too fast so that they can gain their victims’ trust faster. They will use phrases from the scammer’s playbook in order to make sure that the victim is head-over-heels in love with them. Once they have their victims’ trust, they will start to ask them for money consistently until their bank account is drained.
They will talk about future plans, marriage, kids, and how they can’t wait to meet them in person just to keep their victims on their toes. Even though the romance scammer knows it’s fake, they put on a show knowing that they will get thousands of dollars if they keep up the act.
#4 Be Wary if They Say They Have a Job Overseas
If they say they have a job overseas, make sure to verify their identities before proceeding with the relationship. Many scammers pretend to have overseas jobs, such as being in the military or working on an oil rig, in order to have an excuse as to why they can’t video chat you or meet you in person.
They will claim they can’t video chat with you since they don’t have the best Wi-Fi signal. They will also state that they need money to meet you in person, since they are overseas working. Both of these claims are false, since many military bases and oil rigs have reliable Wi-Fi networks for their employees.
Also, companies that require their workers to work overseas will usually pay for travel expenses once they are allowed to go back home. You will never have to send money to send someone home from an overseas job.
#5 Perform a Reverse Search with Social Catfish to Avoid Romance Scams!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with after reading about how to avoid romance scams this April Fool’s Day. If you were involved in a romance scam, make sure to report it to the FTC as well.