Tips to avoid romance scams | #datingscams | #lovescams

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The popularity of docuseries like Netflix’s The Tinder Swindler has brought to light a crime that affects tens of thousands of victims nationwide – romance scams. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, federal investigators are advising the public of the warning signs of these financial crimes of the heart.

“Valentine’s Day provides a timely reminder for the public to not fall prey to criminals using love to scam their way into their victims’ hearts for monetary gain,” said Demetrius Hardeman, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Atlanta Field Office. “To avoid becoming a victim, people need to be aware of the telltale signs that they are being manipulated.”

Federal investigators are advising the public to practice vigilance ahead of Valentine’s Day to avoid falling victim to a romance scammer. According to data from the Federal Trade Commission, romance scammers tell all sorts of lies to steal your heart and money, and reports to the FTC show those lies are working. In 2022, nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam and reported losses hit a staggering $1.3 billion. The median reported loss was $4,400.

The IRS Criminal Investigation Atlanta Field Office, which covers southern states – Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi provided tips to help everyone avoid becoming a victim.

Tips to avoid romance scams:

  • Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.
  • Be careful what you post and make public online. Scammers can use details on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.
  • Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the image, name or details have been used elsewhere.
  • Go slowly and ask lots of questions.
  • Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate directly.
  • Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
  • Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.

“Many of these scammers do not act alone and, in many cases, are part of a criminal enterprise dealing in other illicit activities such as human trafficking, gambling, and loansharking,” Hardeman said.

Reports show romance scammers often use dating apps to target people looking for love. The Scams that start with unexpected private messages on social media platforms are even more common. In fact, 40% of people who said they lost money to a romance scam last year said the contact started on social media; 19% said it started on a website or app. Many people reported that the scammer then quickly moved the sweet talk to WhatsApp, Google Chat, or Telegram.

If you or someone you know was the victim of a romance scammer, contact local law enforcement or the IRS CI Atlanta Field Office.

Click Here For Original Source.

. . . . . . .