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Romance Scams: Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim

Romance scams are on the rise, affecting good people of all ages. Scammers actively seek out vulnerable people via Facebook and various dating apps, typically targeting individuals who have recently been separated, divorced or widowed, or just lonely, looking for companionship. They are good at what they do. They’ll take their time, establishing a “relationship” and gaining your trust. Eventually, they’ll introduce some sort of financial involvement. Here are some ways to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Take it slow, ask lots of questions. Look for inconsistencies in their responses.
  • Be aware of how much a scammer can learn about you based on your posting activity. Pictures and posts of your home, vacations and large purchases may provide them insight into your financial condition.
  • Talk to friends and family about this new relationship and listen to them if they have concerns.
  • Never give anyone your banking information or online credentials. Ever. If they ask for it, they are trying to steal your money.
  • Never purchase gift cards or iTunes cards for anyone you have not met face to face. If they ask you to purchase a gift card - then request that you send them a picture of that card - they are trying to steal your money.
  • Don’t let them pressure you. They are very good at weaving tales of hardship, inconvenience or emergency, and will play upon your good nature to convince you to “help”. Some may express frustration or threaten to discontinue the relationship if you appear reluctant.
  • Pay attention to your gut.  If something feels off, it probably is.

Often, victims of a Romance Scam feel embarrassed that they’ve allowed themselves to be vulnerable and are reluctant to tell others. This is possibly their biggest mistake! Please, contact your bank immediately if you feel your accounts may have been compromised. Let us help protect you from becoming the scammers next victim!

Teresa Johnson

BSA Officer/VP