ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Although romance is in the air ahead of Valentine’s Day, so are the possible scams that come with meeting a new partner. According to the FTC, romance scams are on the rise and total more reported losses than any other fraud category.
NEWS10’s Stephanie Rivas sat down with Tina Pickup, Vice President of Security and Fraud investigations at Berkshire Bank, to discuss the red flags to recognize scammers and how banks are taking action. “They are going to ask you a lot of questions. They are going to learn everything about you. They are going to try to get all this information out of you,” Pickup said. “They know what they can use to manipulate you.”
According to the Department of Homeland Security, most of these scammers originate from Africa, primarily Nigeria and Ghana. Scammers primarily reach victims with fake profiles on Facebook, Instagram, or dating apps.
Pickup said that a major red flag is when the person doesn’t want to meet in person or makes repeated excuses about why they can’t meet. As a bank employee, Pickup emphasized that this type of fraud is rampant and that those who suspect a scam shouldn’t hesitate to contact the police or the fraud branch of their bank.