How to spot and avoid romance scams

How to spot and avoid romance scams

Romance scams happen when victims are lured into 'false' relationships by criminals who aim to steal their money. Romance fraud is typically carried out by criminals using fake profiles. However, in some cases, these criminals have the audacity to show their faces. Men and women of all ages can be affected by romance fraud.

What are the signs you are being scammed?

Romance Scammers are expert storytellers. Creating themselves into the person you want them to be. However, some red flags and tell tale signs might help you spot them. These include the following:

They prefer to move communications away from dating websites to instant messaging, text or phone calls instead.

They ask a lot of personal questions about you in order to seem interested in you and also to build a character that is relatable to you.

They avoid answering personal questions about themselves. The details they tell you seem made up or don't reflect reality. For instance, they may say they're university educated, but their spelling and grammar are poor. Many scammers will give the impression that they have a good job and often work abroad.

They try to establish a bond quickly, to give the impression of a whirl wind romance. For example, they may give you an endearing pet name or tell you that 'they've never felt like this before.'

They ask for financial help. This is often done by creating an emergency situation, such as medical bills, legal fees to release an estate or travel costs.

You never meet them in person. They may promise to see you but either cancel every time or offer excuses as to why they cant video chat.

You perform a reverse image search of their profile photo, and it seems to belong to someone else

How to protect yourself from being scammed
Dating websites and apps can be helpful tools for meeting someone new. It's wise, though, to be careful when communicating with potential romantic interests. Here are some things which may help you avoid being scammed:

Don't share personal details
If you share personal information like your full name, date of birth and home address with a stranger, you may not know what they'll do with it.

Don't send or receive money
Do not send or receive money from anyone you've met online, no matter how convincing their story is. This applies to cash, your bank account, credit card or other financial details.If you receive money from a romance scammer, they will use this against you by threatening to report you to the police for money laundering.

Use trusted dating websites
Fraudsters tend to take their criminal activity off reputable dating websites as soon as possible. They're likely to try and convince you to interact with them via social media or text messaging. This is so that the dating website has no proof of them asking you for money. If you're in touch with someone on this type of website, communicate with them through the site's messaging services.

Don't share personal contact details
Use a website that will allow you to keep your personal details private until you're ready to share them. These include your contact details, such as your phone number, email, or home address.

Think twice before using your webcam
Be careful when using your webcam with a new online love interest, the footage could be used against you. This applies to cameras on all devices, from computers and laptops to smartphones and tablets.

Trust your instincts
If it sounds too good to be true , it probably is!

How to report a romance scam
If you have sent money to a romance scammer , and would like it back , contact us. Our experienced fraud team will submit a claim to your Bank. You can contact us in complete confidence.