Credello: How to Protect Yourself From Romance Scams

People are very vulnerable when it comes to romance, and scam artists see this as an opportunity. That is because there are plenty of individuals looking for love, and some of them might not know to watch out for online hoaxes.  

Though everyone deserves love, you should be aware of the scams out there and what you need to look out for. We'll discuss how you can protect yourself from these situations right now.

Why Should I Worry About Romance Scams?

The main reason why you should worry about romance scams is that it might not immediately occur to you that someone you're communicating with online may have bad intentions. Maybe there are other things on your mind, like paying off debt vs. saving. If so, that is a situation where someone can try to take advantage of you before you realize what's happening.

Romance Scams

Some people use the terms "romance scam" and "Valentine's Day scam" interchangeably. The FBI talks about romance scams and warns the public to watch out for them. They define a romance scam as an occasion where a criminal tricks an individual into thinking they're in a loving relationship, but then this bad actor tries to take advantage of them.

Usually, the goal of one of these scams is for the victim to send the perpetrator money or gifts. The criminal might also try to solicit personal financial information from the victim, such as getting them to reveal a credit card or bank account number.

Spotting Scams

A romance scam can take several different forms, but you can watch out for certain warning signs. For example, if you meet someone via a dating website and they immediately try to communicate with you outside of that site, that can be a red flag. You might also meet someone via one of these sites or apps who very quickly asks you for material possessions or financial assistance when you have never met them in person.

If the individual you meet online has some sort of personal crisis and needs money from you to resolve it, it's probably a scam. They might say meeting you was "fate," or they could claim to be from the U.S., but are now traveling or living abroad. This is a convenient cover story because it makes it more difficult to meet them in person.

Be Wary Around Valentine's Day

Again, we should stress that a romance scam can happen at any time of the year, but there's more of this kind of activity around Valentine's Day. If you're trying to connect with someone online at this time of year, there's no reason not to go into these interactions in good faith, but be sure to keep your eyes wide open.

Watch out for individuals who ask for money or goods without meeting you in person. If they have a sudden crisis very early on in your communication that they need money to resolve, that's almost always a scam. 

Trying to immediately communicate with you outside of a dating site should also put you on your guard. Also, be wary when someone says they're a U.S. citizen, but they're either traveling or living abroad. It's not inconceivable that it's true, but criminals often use it as a cover story. The best rule of thumb? Never reveal personal financial information to someone you don't know intimately.    

If you watch out for these warning signs or behaviors when you try to connect with someone, you should be able to enjoy this special time happily and safely. 

Source: Credello

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Categories: Personal and Family Finances

Tags: Debt, Financial Services, Personal Finance


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