Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses that illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and steal from the victim. Last year, people lost a reported $547 MILLION to online romance scammers.
How to avoid romance scams:
- Never share any banking, social security, or card numbers.
- Beware how much personal information you share.
- Do a reverse image search to check profile pictures.
- Google the person’s name.
- Look for spelling and grammatical errors, as they may indicate the person is actually from a foreign nation and is not familiar with the language.
- Is someone rushing you into a relationship?
- Do they postpone meeting in person?
- Do they claim to work in the military or overseas?
- Are they asking you for money, wire transfer, or gift card numbers?
- Did they have an emergency and request you help them out via money?
- Are they asking you for money for an investment?
“Especially right after the holidays and leading up to Valentine’s Day, single people can feel lonely. Scammers try to take advantage of that. I want the people of Charlotte County to be aware of these scams so they – or someone they care about – don’t become the next victim.”– Sheriff Bill Prummell
If you suspect a romance scam, cut off all contact. Report the account to the online app or social media platform and tell the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
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