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Tips for Avoiding Online Dating Scams

February 5, 2023

Social media networks and dating apps are popular ways for meeting others. Unfortunately, fraudsters have taken advantage of this trend and create fake profiles to lure in victims. Here's some information from the FTC that will help you protect yourself or a loved one.

Romance scams reached a record of $547 million in losses reported to the FTC in 2021. That is up about 80% from 2020.

While online dating can open doors to loving, happy relationships, there are more and more reports of criminals using these platforms to take advantage of unsuspecting users. Approach these relationships with caution so you don't end up with a broken heart and an empty wallet.

Romance scammers adjust their story to what they think will work in each situation. If you're concerned that you or a loved one are being scammed, we recommend you take the following precautions:

  • Slow down – and talk to someone you trust. Don't let a scammer rush you. If your family or friends say they're concerned, pay attention. 
  • Never wire money, put money on a gift card, send money via money transfer app, transfer cryptocurrency, or mail cash to an online love interest. You won't get it back. They want to get your money quickly, so they will tell you how to pay. They will always choose ways that make it hard for you to get your money back.
  • Contact your bank right away if you think you've sent money to a scammer.
  • Report your experience to:
    • The social networking site or app where you met the scammer
    • FTC

If you suspect a romance scam, stop communicating with the person immediately. And always remember to never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you haven't met in person.