Beware of These ‘Romance Scams’ on Valentine’s Day
If you're looking for love, this time of the year can really be a source of some major anxiety in your life.
Valentine's Day is a great way to celebrate your relationship with that special someone, but finding your 'soulmate' can be problematic, especially in February.
According to SocialCatfish.com, scammers use this time of the year to prey on vulnerable relationship seekers with a series of what are being called 'Romance Scams'.
These scams have cost Americans $1.3 billion in the last five years, making them the leading type of fraud according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The majority of these scams begin with the use of technology through dating apps or websites, where lonely singles often let their guard down in the hopes of making a love connection.
It begins with a photo of a very attractive person who expresses an interest in pursuing a relationship with the victim.
From there, things often escalate quickly with a profession of love after just a few online encounters.
After that, the requests for money and/or gift cards begin flooding in and that's when unsuspecting victims can get into trouble.
Experts strongly suggest taking these simple steps to avoid being scammed:
- Perform a reverse image search to see if their picture matches their name. If the photo is used on many dating apps using different names, it is a scam.
- Stop communicating with anyone who will not meet or video chat in a reasonable amount of time.
- Never give money to anyone you meet online.
STATES WITH MOST ROMANCE SCAM VICTIMS (Victims/Total money lost)
- California: 3,023/$183,928,230
- Florida: 1,738/$70,483,554
- Texas: 1,752/$65,430,519
- New York: 1,168/$57,577,392
- Washington: 657/$31,958,914
- New Jersey: 517/$30,142,767
- Pennsylvania: 723/$30,055,491
- Colorado: 445/$24,492,897
- Virginia: 613/$22,143,549
- Massachusetts: 415/$21,796,694
According to the most recent numbers, there have been a combined 534 'romance scam' victims in the Tri-State Area - 340 from Minnesota (22nd most), 142 from Iowa (37th most, and 52 from South Dakota (46th most) for a combined loss of more than $16 million.