Romance Scams: Love Is (NOT) In The Air

Thousands of people use online dating sites and social media to find love. While some truly find romance online, many others find a scammer on the other end. Fraudsters are always looking for ways to get access to your money, and one of the most common ways this time of year is through romance scams. Look for these warning signs to help catch a scammer from stealing your heart…and your wallet.

Avoids meeting face-to-face, including video calls.

Scammers will claim they live near you or in another state but refuse to meet you face-to-face. While this may not be a red flag to some, scammers will attempt to trick you into thinking they are a real person by sending images of someone else and saying they will “try” to find time to meet in person. They will ask you about your personal life, such as your birthday, names of pets or children, or what you do for a living to ‘get to know you better.’

This is a common scheme used by scammers to gain your trust before they ‘experience a tragedy.’ Be careful about the details you share, especially on social media or dating sites. They will use that information to better target you and others you know.

Asks you for money. 

Once you are engaged in conversation for a period of time and they feel they have established your trust, scammers will tell you that someone close to them was injured in an accident, or they experience another type of crisis and need money. They will ask for your account information, passwords, or your social security number to help transfer money to themselves.

They may even go as far as asking for your help to pay medical expenses (for themselves or a family member) and say they will come visit you in person in exchange for your help. However, once you have agreed, you will never “see” that person – or your money – ever again. It’s important to remember: NEVER send money in any form to someone you have not met in person.

Love may be in the air (or on the web) – but maybe not. While none of these red flags are a sure indicator of a romance scam, all of them should be considered warning signs. A Cinfed branch manager once saved a member thousands of dollars by providing evidence that convinced them they were the victim of a romance scam. Unfortunately, this example has become too common. If you suspect a romance scam, stop communicating with the person immediately and call our Contact Center (513-333-3800) or your nearest branch location.