WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP) – Dating apps and websites continue to be a popular way to connect with people looking for a relationship, but they’re also places where scammers look for victims.
“Romance scams” can happen when someone makes a fake profile on dating sites, apps and social media. They message you to get a relationship going and build your trust. Then they may start asking for money for things like plane tickets to come visit, or to help pay bills. After they get what they want, or if you stop sending money, they disappear.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), people reported $304 million in losses to romance scams in 2020. Here are some ways to identify a romance scam:
- If someone you’ve never met in person asks you for money, that’s a scam. No matter the story. Never send money or gifts to anyone you haven’t met in person, even if they send you money first.
- Only scammers tell you to buy gift cards, wire money, or send cryptocurrency. Once you send that money, you won’t get it back.
- Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture. See if it’s associated with another name or with details that don’t match up. Those are signs of a scam.
Talk to someone you trust about your new love interest, and pay attention if they’re concerned. Learn more by watching this video and at ftc.gov/romancescams. And if a scammer tries to charm you out of your funds, report it to the FTC.