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By Heritage Bank on February 22, 2024
1 minute read

Love Online Can Be Costly If You Lose Your Head

Finding love online can come with a price. Romance scams are on the rise as cryptocurrency becomes a prevalent way to invest. Nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam, and reported losses hit an astonishing $1.3 billion.

But first, what is a romance scam?

A romance scam is created by individuals who compile fake profiles on dating websites, dating apps and/or reach out through social media platforms. The scammers will then build trust by sparking a relationship with you over time. Eventually, they ask for money, usually offering up a compelling personal story of hardship or emergency expenses.

How to protect yourself from romance scammers? There are several ways to remain vigilant against these tactics:

Tip 1 – Stay Alert. When conversing with anyone on the Internet you do not personally know (that means you’ve met them in person), it is important to note red flags. Are their financial issues repeatedly coming up during your chats? Does the person pry about your financial situation? Both are topics romance scammers use to steer conversations toward money.

Tip 2Never Share Your Personal Information. Keep it confidential when asked for credit card information, cryptocurrency investments or overall financial standing. These scammers are paying close attention to the information you share regarding even your personal life. It is easy to make yourself a target by divulging unneeded personal information. Don’t discuss expensive vacations, second homes or even indicate whether your parents or children have means. These could tip off a scammer that you’re a fish worth hooking.

Tip 3 – Beware of Common Lies. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are five top lies by the numbers.

· 24% - “I or someone close to me is sick, hurt or in jail.”

· 18% - “I can teach you how to invest.”

· 18% - “I’m in the military stationed far away.”

· 18% - “I need help with an important delivery.”

· 12% - “We’ve never met, but let’s talk about marriage.”

Scammers not only operate by asking you for favors but also offer you things in return. Remember: These are master manipulators that will often rely on emotional appeal to acquire money.

Tip 4 – Avoid Suspicious Payment Methods. The largest percentage of total reported loss was through cryptocurrency. About 27% of total reported losses have been attributed to bank wire transfers. Gift cards and payment apps come in a close second and third.

Heritage Bank. Member FDIC.

Published by Heritage Bank February 22, 2024