If you have ever talked to someone online and they have asked for gift cards or Bitcoin for any reason, they were probably a romance scammer. When scammers come up with their schemes, they usually ask that their victims pay using a gift card or Bitcoin. Even when victims try to offer them other forms of payment, some scammers will usually decline it and ask for a gift card and Bitcoin instead. If you ever wondered why that is and are looking for closure after being scammed, keep scrolling to find out why romance scammers ask for Bitcoin and gift cards, what you can do to recover, and how to avoid romance scams.
What Are Romance Scams?
A romance scammer is someone who creates a fake profile on a dating app or a social media website and tries to start fake relationships with random people. They sweep their victims off their feet by saying how gorgeous they are and how they want to get to know them better. They keep talking to the victim on a daily basis until they fall in love with them.
Once the scammer gains their victim’s trust, the scammer starts coming up with excuses as to why they need money. They usually start off with something small, such as money for food or other small expenses. Then, they create a more serious excuse and usually claim that their life or job is on the line if they don’t receive a large sum of money. Romance scammers continuously ask their victims for money until they drain their bank account.
Why Do Romance Scammers Ask For Bitcoin and Gift Cards?
Romance scammers come up with lies and excuses as to why they need their victims’ money. They will claim that their life is in danger or that their job is on the line if they don’t get the money they need as soon as possible. While there are some scammers that get paid via wire transfer or through their bank, other scammers demand that they receive gift cards or Bitcoin. This is due to the fact that Bitcoin and gift cards are untraceable methods of payment.
This means that if a victim were to report their scam to law enforcement, they wouldn’t be able to trace their payment back to the gift card. Therefore, it would make it really hard for them to get their money back. If a victim were to call the gift card company or Bitcoin, there is still not much they can do if the scammer already cashed in this method of payment. Scammers also know that they can remain anonymous if they receive a gift card payment or Bitcoin and want to hide their identity so that law enforcement can’t catch them.
How Can You Recover If You’ve Been Scammed Out of Gift Cards or Bitcoin?
- Contact the company of the gift card you purchased and see if they can reverse your transaction. Make sure you have the gift card number on hand.
- Contact the Bitcoin company to see if it is possible to reverse the Bitcoin transaction. Make sure to report it as a fraudulent transaction.
- Contact law enforcement and/or the FBI to see if they can trace the purchase back to the scammer.
- Report the scam to the IC3 or FTC to see if they can help you with getting your money back or other resources.
How to Avoid Romance Scams
- 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 when dealing with romance scammers that ask for gift cards and Bitcoin.
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