Romance Scams: Common Giveaways People Ignore

As more Americans turn to the internet to find love, an increasing number of adults across all generations have been falling prey to romance scams. According to the FTC, reported losses due to such fraud amounted to a staggering $1.3 billion in 2022. But the cost of becoming a victim is not just limited to financial losses. You also run the risk of having your identity stolen or even experiencing sextortion and living the rest of your life in distress.

However, romance scams have underlying red flags that many people ignore when they are swept off their feet by a charming stranger. By understanding these telltale signs and taking adequate safety measures, you can still pursue love in a safe online environment.

Common Giveaways of Romance Scams

If you are searching for love online, knowing how to identify a romance scammer is critical for avoiding unwanted trouble. Here are common giveaways you should never ignore.

Unusually perfect profiles

One thing you would have realized by now in your quest to find love is that nobody is perfect. If someone seems too good to be real, they likely are.

So, when you meet a potential suitor online, take a close look at their profile. Are the photos overly edited? If so, they could be AI-generated or distorted to hide the owner’s identity.

Does the profile information project everything you are looking for or match your interests and preferences to an unusual degree? Then, scammers may have already researched you and created a fake identity specifically targeting you.

Incomplete profiles

Vague or incomplete information is another typical red flag of a romance scam. This is because fraudsters often leave out details that could give away a stolen or fabricated identity. For instance, they may deliberately omit social media links that could help you track them outside the dating app.

Inconsistencies and irregularities

Sometimes, what your love interest tells you might not make sense or contradict what they have mentioned earlier. Or, you may notice sudden personality changes, which involve, for example, an instant shift from charming to aggressive. Such inconsistent or peculiar behavior is a common sign you are dealing with a fraudster.

Spelling and grammar mistakes and unusual use of language are other giveaways.

Too many personal questions

Is your potential romantic partner overly inquisitive? Do you feel they are prying into your personal life too soon?

For example, have they asked about financial information such as your income, savings, or investments? If so, they could be targeting you for identity theft or financial fraud. Or have they requested compromising photos? It could be a sign of a blackmail scheme.

Reluctance to engage face-to-face

Con artists usually keep a safe distance from their victims and find excuses to avoid video calls and in-person meetups.

To keep their identities hidden, they could pretend to live in a different state or country for work, studies, or business. For instance, they might pose as military personnel deployed overseas or doctors stationed in Africa working with a non-profit.

Preference for off-the-app communications

Many fraudulent suitors will attempt to interact with you using less safe digital mediums outside the dating app. They may prefer to talk over the phone, chat on social media, or message via WhatsApp or Telegram.

A sense of urgency or impatience

Once they find a target, scammers do not want to waste time. The more they wait, the higher the opportunity cost and the greater the chance of you discovering their true motives.

So, it makes every sense for a swindler to rush you into a relationship by claiming to love you or asking you to marry them within a few days of meeting online.

It is the perfect strategy to win your trust and get you emotionally overwhelmed so you would put your guard down.

Personal favors

Romance scammers trick their victims in a variety of ways. They may, for example, ask you for money to help them settle an urgent medical bill, get out of business trouble, or buy an air ticket to visit you.

They could also take your money under the pretext of helping you to invest in a lucrative opportunity that can yield high returns.

How Can You Avoid Romance Scams?

Here are the essential steps to follow:

  • Take your time. Never allow anyone to rush you into romance before you are ready or determine the terms of the relationship without your consent. If they are reluctant to wait or give you enough space, you are better off letting them go.
  • Until you get to know a potential suitor, avoid disclosing personal details that could compromise your safety. These can include your phone number, home address, workplace information, family details, and compromising photos and videos.
  • Minimize data sharing on social media, personal blogs, and similar online platforms. Scammers often use already available digital data footprints to research and target their victims.
  • Keep communications within the dating app. This will allow you to converse in a safer environment.
  • Do your own research without depending on what your love interest has told you. Check their social media profiles and find mutual contacts who can share more information about them.
  • If the potential suitor provides a phone number to call or message, search it first on PhoneHistory to review how long they have owned it and learn more about the number’s registered owner.
  • Watch out for early warning signs of a scam, including inconsistent details and requests for unusual personal favors.
  • Keep your emotions in check without giving in to flattery. Remember, when you are taken in by someone’s charm, you are more likely to please them and reciprocate their affection.
  • Once you know enough about your love interest, arrange to meet them in person in a public location. But keep your loved ones informed about the meetup information.

To Conclude

Finding a romantic partner is undoubtedly challenging, especially given the various romance scams that take place online. However, you can easily identify and avoid such fraud and ensure your personal safety by knowing the common giveaway signs.

If you notice anything suspicious, speak to your friends and family to seek a second opinion. And if you suspect you are targeted by a fraudster, stop all communications and report the incident to local law enforcement officials and the FTC.