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Don’t Get Caught in a Romance Scam

Don’t Get Caught in a Romance Scam

Love’s in the air, but there are also many breaking hearts because scammers love to con love-seekers into giving up their trust and their money, for a love interest who doesn’t actually exist.


Here’s what to know about romance scams.


How the scams play out


In a romance scam, a scammer makes a bogus dating site or app profile. They’ll strike up a remote relationship with the target and work to gain their trust. After several weeks, the scammer invents a story for persuading the target to loan them a large sum of money to cover an alleged cost, like a plane ticket or emergency surgery. And, of course, they want the funds to be shared via prepaid gift card or wire transfer.


Red flags


Protect yourself from falling victim to a romance scam by looking out for these red flags when digitally searching for a dating partner:


  • The dating profile is too perfect

  • When asked for an in-person meeting, the “date” is evasive 

  • The love interest is super-eager to build a relationship

How to avoid romance scams


There are several steps you can take to keep yourself safe from romance scams.


First, if a dating profile seems suspicious, do a reverse image search on the photo. If the photo turns up in another profile under a different name, or turns out to be a stock image, you’re likely looking at a scammer.


Next, you can look up the name on the profile with words that are relevant to their alleged background, like “US Army scammer”. If the scammer has previously pulled off this scheme, a search should bring up enough breadcrumbs to confirm suspicions.


Finally, never send a prepaid gift card or wire money to a contact you haven’t met. This is advice that fits any scam: Just don’t do it.


If you’ve been scammed


If you’ve fallen for a romance scam and sent the scammer a prepaid gift card, contact the company that issued the card to ask about a possible refund. It’s also important to notify the FTC at Finally, alert the customer service of the website or app where you met the phony single so they can take appropriate action.


Stay safe!

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