The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported over $300 million in financial losses to romance scams in 2020. This figure highlights the likelihood of meeting a romance scammer instead of finding love online. You will not only be left with an empty wallet, but you may also find it hard to accept that you just got betrayed by someone you trusted and loved. Read this article to avoid going through this emotional roller coaster, learn about the romance scammer tactics, and find out how you can prevent romance scams.
Romance Scammer Tactics: How to Catch a Romance Scammer
Romance scammers are scattered in different countries and across various social media and dating platforms. That is why you should know the following usual tactics to easily spot them and keep yourself from being a victim:
Living in a Foreign Country
One of the most common romance scammer tactics is telling you that they are based abroad — a perfect excuse not to meet you in person. They will say they work in the military and have been deployed in another country. Others will pretend they’re a doctor at an international organization or that they’re handling a construction project overseas.
Sending Intimate Photos
Romance scammers are experts at sending sweet messages that will give you butterflies. They will even declare their love for you quickly. Then, they will ask to send or exchange intimate photos or videos. However, they will eventually blackmail you, saying that they will share this private content with your family and friends if you don’t send them money.
Needing Money for Emergencies
Once romance scammers think you trust them, they will make excuses to ask you for money. For example, they will say they need it for travel expenses or hospital bills. Others pretend they’re trying to set up a new business, or a family member died. No matter how urgent the situation sounds, do not send them money.
Romance scammer tactics also include sending gifts from a foreign country. You may get all excited, but they will soon tell you to pay for tax or shipping. Then, they will request the money to be sent through wire transfer, reload cards, or gift cards. Scammers want these methods because it will be nearly impossible for you to reverse the payment.
Leaving the Dating App
Another common technique of romance scammers is asking to leave the dating app where you met and continue communicating using other platforms. They do this even in the early stage of the relationship to avoid getting banned from online dating sites. They will also have more control of the situation if you start talking outside the app.
Using Fake Profile Photos
Since romance scammers are hiding their identity, they will use profile photos that seem off. They will either use stock images, like places, or pictures of models. If you browse their profile, you will see limited photos, with none showing their whole body. If they can’t give you a photo with family, friends, or other distinct shots, then you might just be dating a romance scammer.
How To Avoid Romance Scammer Tactics
To help you catch romance scammers before you fall for them, perform these steps:
- Do not share your phone numbers, address, passwords, and other sensitive information with people you’ve never met in person.
- Do not transfer money even during emergencies. Romance scammers love creating their own storylines for monetary gain.
- Do not send explicit photos or videos. They can use such content to threaten you for money.
- Watch out for conflicting stories and excuses. Romance scammers will always have reasons not to meet you in person.
- Avoid sharing too much information on your social media accounts. They can take advantage of such information to steal your identity and get you scammed.
- Do your research. Find out whether the person you’re talking to uses stolen profile pictures or if the account is linked to other names, but the details are inconsistent.
- Tell a friend or a family member about the person you’re trying to date online. They can give you impartial advice and help you spot the signs that you may be talking to a romance scammer, not a genuine love interest.
- Take your time getting to know the person. Don’t trust someone who expresses their love for you without even meeting you in person. Also, do not hesitate to ask multiple questions to determine whether they are who they claim to be.
Romance Scammer Tactics: Expose Them With Social Catfish
While it’s nice to have someone you can call a partner, dating online includes the risk of meeting a romance scammer. So, take note of the common tactics that we have emphasized above. To find out whether someone is real or just another romance scammer trying to break your heart and drain your bank account, do a reverse search at Social Catfish!