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Attorney General warns New Yorkers of online dating scams | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

The NYS Attorney General is warning New Yorkers of the increase in online dating scams.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The NY Attorney General Letitia James  is warning New Yorkers of the increase in online romance scams that are happening across the state. 

Common online scams are showing that scammers use dating apps, social media, and unsolicited text messages to befriend their victims and convince them to make fraudulent investments or purchases. More specifically though, online romance scams are also known as “pig butchering” – which is language scammers use to describe “fattening up” victims by gaining their trust before finally taking their money.

“New Yorkers hoping to find romance and personal connections online are instead being taken advantage of and victimized by heartless scammers,” said Attorney General James in a release. “Sophisticated fraudsters are increasingly using dating apps and social media to trick users into bogus investment schemes. The personal and sometimes romantic nature of these scams can often leave their victims feeling ashamed and isolated. New Yorkers who fall victim to these frauds should know they are not alone. I encourage anyone who believes they may have been a victim of an online romance scam to contact my office.”

Basic steps that can be taken to avoid these scams according to the Attorney General’s Office include:

  • In general, do not wire money, send cryptocurrency, or give cash to people you don’t know and haven’t vetted because these transactions are irreversible.
  • Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the image, name, or details have been used elsewhere. Keep in mind that scammers may be using stolen identities to create profiles that appear to be real, and their profiles, IDs, and photographs could be generated using AI.
  • Be suspicious of individuals you encounter online who:
    • Change their phone number throughout the “relationship” and/or tell you to delete the conversations.
    • Promise to meet in person or by video call, but always come up with an excuse about why they cannot.
    • Move conversations from text or email to WhatsApp or another encrypted platform.
    • Attempt to isolate you from friends or family by advising you to keep the relationship or the investment opportunity they are offering a secret.
    • Ask you for detailed personal financial information or explicit or private photographs, which could later be used to extort you.
    • Pressure you to withdraw from retirement accounts (even at a penalty), to borrow money from friends/relatives, or to apply for loans from a bank.
  • Never rush into any investment. Be skeptical if the individual insists that you must invest money within a very short time frame, claiming you will lose out on the opportunity.
  • Before investing, consult a trusted legal professional or financial advisor who can advise you if the investment is proper. You can check investment professional registration at FINRA’s BrokerCheck.
  • Trust your instincts and think twice before investing. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If you suspect fraud, report the individual to the dating or social media app and to law enforcement. Save all communications so that you can provide them to law enforcement if needed.

Anyone who believes that they may have been a victim of this type of scam is encouraged to  report it and can do so by clicking here. People may also call 1-800-771-7755 to make a report. 

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National Cyber Security