What is an Online Romance Scam?

An online romance scam is a type of fraud where a scammer creates a fake online profile to gain someone’s trust and affection, and then uses that trust to ask for money or personal information. Romance scams can happen on any online platform where people meet, such as dating websites, social media, and chat rooms.

In 2021, people reported losing over $547 million to romance scams. The average loss per victim was $10,000.

How do romance scams work?

Romance scammers typically create fake profiles using stolen photos and information. They may pose as someone they’re not, such as a doctor, military officer, or wealthy businessman. Once they’ve established contact with a victim, they’ll quickly start professing their love and making promises for the future. They may also claim to be in a difficult situation, such as being stranded in a foreign country or needing money for medical treatment.

What are some warning signs of a romance scam?

  • The person you’re talking to is very quick to profess their love.
  • They make excuses for not meeting in person or video chatting.
  • They ask for money or personal information.
  • They have a sob story that tugs at your heartstrings.
  • They seem to know a lot about you, even though you’ve just met.
  • They try to isolate you from your friends and family.

How can you protect yourself from romance scams?

  • Be skeptical of anyone who you meet online, especially if they’re quick to profess their love.
  • Do your research before sending money to someone you met online.
  • Never give out your personal information, such as your Social Security number or bank account number.
  • If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to the authorities and the dating website or app where you met the scammer.

How much money do romance scammers steal?

See Scam and Fraud Protection for 2023 for more information and make sure to Sign Up for our Scam Prevention Newsletter.

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