What Is A Romance Scam?
A romance scam is a well thought out scheme in which a scammer pretends romantic interest in a target, establishes a relationship and then attempts to get money or personal information from the targeted person under false pretenses. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) victims of romance scams experienced heartbreaking personal losses of more than $230 million in 2016.
Romance scammers main success comes from working through social engineering rather than any kind of sophisticated technology, scammers are always quick to draw you away from social media platforms before their account is removed. The scammer creates multiple profiles on a dating or social networking website, exploiting information that potential targets have posted. As soon as the scammer has gained the trust of the victim, he or she will typically profess to have fallen in love with the target very quickly, and soon after that, begin requesting money. The scammer may claim to have an emergency need for funds for reasons such as medical bills or food and may request money for flight tickets to visit the target. Among other possibilities, the scammer may request photos or personal information that could eventually be used to blackmail the victim and extort more money from that person.
The most common sign of a romance scammer is If someone starts declaring their undying love for you after a couple of weeks or even days, it is normally a sign that they may be trying to catfish you. They will also try and get you off a dating site or social media pages and into the realm of texts, instant messages or WhatsApp as soon as possible.
That’s not to say that you can’t develop a deep connection with someone in a short time, but it’s a bit strange if they’re talking marriage after a third online conversation.
A popular trend in catfishing is for the scammer to rush things and try to get very serious very quickly. This doesn’t allow the person that is being targeted to think about what’s happening as they get swept up in the romance. It’s also a way to play with people’s emotions and keep them invested in this growing “relationship.”
Scammers have used stock images of models & law enforcement personnel, who may be specifically styled to sell a specific product. Photos of them posing with beverages and electronical goods may feel staged and unnatural and that’s because because they are. If you already suspect something, requesting a family photo is one thing you can do – they will have a hard time producing one since the model they’re impersonating may have not shot a family-themed campaign. Alternatively, you can also ask the scammer to send you a video quoting a specific number or word of your choosing.
If you suspect that something is off about their photos or approach, usually stick with your gut feeling it’s probably right. There is a useful tool that you can use to perform a quick check by reverse searching the photos on Google images. Go to the Google images website, click on your camera icon and either drag and drop the photos URL there or the photo itself. If you’re on your phone, then you can screenshot it, upload it to your computer, and then use the website.
Tips & Advise
1. Check Photographs
Scammers usually steal good-looking people’s photos from social media, and use them as their own. If you’re suddenly approached by a picture perfect hunk online, check their thoroughly before you go booking the wedding. Copy the photo and then paste it into Google’s Reverse Image Search, if you see the image used in social media under a different profile or name, you know it’s false.
2. Check Preferences
Romance scammers are the least picky people in the world. They have worked in online-dating for over a decade, It’s a well known fact that older males search for partners around 5 younger than themselves, and sometimes closer to 10. Females usually search for partners around 2 years younger, to 12 years older. But when it comes to scammers, the sky’s the limit. Be suspicious of men and women whose profile says they’re open to contact from people 20 years or more away from their own age. They’re not a refreshing change—they’re liars, trying to cast their net as wide as possible.
3. Check Grammar
One of the most obvious signs of a romance scammer is that English isn’t always their first language — it’s usually about the third or fourth. So their spelling and grammar is often very poor, and they OFTEN TYPE IN CAPITAL LETTERS ONLY. Also, scammers often work in teams, with several different people all hiding behind one identity. So if your online correspondent’s writing style seems to be strangely inconsistent, this is a warning sign.
If you have been targeted by any kind of scam then please contact us as soon as possible.
Phone – 0800 193 6851
Email – Help@scammers-be-gone.co.uk
Report – To report a scam please click here