#RedHeartsRedFlags Warning Signs of a Romance Scam

Romance scams can strike anyone at any age. In 2018, romance scams accounted for the second-highest financial loss reported to the FBI/IC3 with $362,500,761 in total losses. If you’re looking for love online, we’ve got a few red flags for you to be wary of.

If the person you’re talking to offers various excuses explaining why they can’t show you more photos or video-chat with you, it’s a red flag. It could be a sign that they are avoiding revealing their true identity, and may not be who they say they are. Ask to video chat before investing too much time into someone that you can’t meet in person.

The profile you read on the site might not match with everything they tell you, or you have found other profiles using the same photos with different information. Mismatched information and multiple profiles are a big romance scam red flag. Scammers will often steal photos from another person’s profile and pose as that individual to gain your trust. This is known as catfishing. If you want to check for other profiles, try a reverse Google Image search. Click the camera icon to paste an image URL or upload a photo. This search may pull up profiles using the same photos. The BBB’s Romance Scam Study gives great examples of what catfishing looks like in action. 

Their messages could be poorly written, inconsistent, and sometimes vague. This warning sign might mean that you’re actually talking to a person or multiple people who are running several romance scams. To avoid sending mixed messages, fraudsters will keep messaging vague. Often times, these scams come from outside of the country in places like Nigeria. Some organized schemes will have pre-written playbooks with scripted interactions for fraudsters to pull from. Forbes goes into more detail on these types of schemes in their article, Anatomy Of A Scam: Nigerian Romance Scammer Shares Secrets

For more romance scam red flags, check out our YouTube video and subscribe to our channel for regular cybercrime recovery content. Download the #RedHeartRedFlags Info Sheet to help you Recognize a Romance Scam while you date online!

Better Business Bureau