Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, causing many people to frantically search for a date. Due to the coronavirus, many people are trying online dating for the first time, hoping that their soulmate is on the other side of their screen. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that the profile picture you see isn’t always who the person really is. Romance scammers have the tendency to steal images from social media influencers and pass them off as their own pictures. Here is how Valentine’s Day can increase romance scams during the coronavirus, and how to avoid them.
What is a Romance Scam?
A romance scam is when a scammer pretends to be someone they aren’t on online dating apps and social media platforms. They then contact their victims via messaging, usually claiming that they just laid eyes on the most beautiful person they have ever seen. They then claim they want to get to know the victim better by pretending to like what they like and creating fake stories that seem legit.
The scammer then spends days, weeks, months, and even years creating a relationship with their victims. They claim they can’t video chat with them or meet them in person due to being overseas, having a broken camera, or having poor signal. They continue to text them and talk to them via phone call, building trust and a relationship with their victims.
Once the victims gain feelings and trust for the romance scammer, the scammer fakes a plethora of reasons as to why they consistently need money. Excuses can range from a job-related emergency, an accident, groceries, iTunes cards, needing money for travel, or needing money to get them a house.
The victims believe in the excuses romance scammers give them, and continuously send them money thinking they are helping out. However, once the victim starts to realize that the scammer won’t stop asking them for money and their bank account is draining, they start to realize that this could be a scam. They do their research and figure it out, but by then it’s too late.
Why Do People Fall For Romance Scams on Valentine’s Day?
Many people around Valentine’s Day feel lonely and want to find a date to satisfy them on Valentine’s Day. Since the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to plague our nation, many people turn to online dating to find the partner they desire. Also, romance scammers are using COVID-19 as an excuse to not have any money nor have access to the Internet, which makes their scams more believable.
Victims then chat with their romance scammers throughout Valentine’s Day and are happy that someone is actually there for them during this holiday. This causes them to form a relationship with the romance scammer, not realizing who they really are until their bank account gets drained.
How to Avoid Romance Scams on Valentine’s Day
- Don’t give money to someone on the Internet that you’ve never met in person.
- Don’t give out your personal information to someone that you are talking to online.
- If someone is moving the relationship super fast, be cautious by slowing the relationship down.
- Don’t get too serious with someone without at least video chatting with them or meeting them in person first.
- If they have a job overseas, this is a huge red flag that they might be a romance scammer since they usually use this as an excuse to not see you or video chat with you.
- If someone is randomly contacting you out-of-the-blue on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter this usually means they are a romance scammer.
- Report any scam that you’ve been a part of to the FTC, IC3, and FBI.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
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 if you think you’ve been a victim of romance scams.