What is a

Romance Scam?

Romance Scammers use emotional manipulation to steal from their victims, pretending to be someone else to trick their victims into believing they are falling in love with them. Scammers often create a fake profile on dating apps or social networking sites. Their goal is to quickly build a romantic connection, often flooding you with compliments and attention (called “love bombing”). Some romance scammers will even send you gifts to get you to trust them. Once they sense you have developed feelings for them, the scammer will create a scenario where they need your support for what is often described as a time-sensitive matter, such as help with a medical bill or a car repair or a plane ticket to visit.

How do you know if someone is romantically scamming you?

The scammer might ask for you to send them money by using a method that is hard to track, like a wire transfer, gift card, or even cryptocurrency. The more they receive the more they will continue to ask for money, coupled with empty promises to visit you in person soon. They will also make excuses for why their planned visits and video calls had to be canceled. Romance scams can cost you money and cause mental and emotional damage.

8 steps to protect yourself from romance scammers

Limit where and with whom you share your personal information (e.g., birthdate, financial accounts) with


Remain cautious even when using reputable websites


Check if the person’s photo and profile have been used somewhere else


Take online relationships slowly


Talk to someone you trust about your new romantic interest


Avoid sharing potentially sensitive personal photos or financial information


Be cautious if the person often promises to meet face to face, but never follows through


Never send money including gift cards to someone you do not know in person

What to do If you are a victim of a romance scam
  1. Contact your bank or credit card company if you shared your account information with the scammer
  2. Contact the website or app where you met the scammer and give them the scammer’s profile name and any other details that may be useful
  3. File a report with the local police department
  4. File a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center online at ic3.gov and with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at reportfraud.ftc.gov or by phone at 1-877-382-4357.
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