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‘Be wary of love bomb’ as crooks target ‘vulnerable romantics’ with evil Valentine’s Day attack – three clues to spot | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans


Experts have been ringing the alarm on romance scams that can leave victims penniless.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, more scammers and cybercriminals will try their hand at romance schemes.

Experts have been ringing the alarm on romance scamsCredit: Getty

WHAT IS A ROMANCE SCAM?

A romance scam comprises a criminal creating a fake persona on apps like Tinder, WhatsApp, or Facebook to gain a victim’s affection and trust.

They then use that perceived trust to manipulate or steal from the victim.

“Romance scams can take many shapes and forms,” Ben Michael, a lawyer at M&A Criminal Defense Attorneys, told The U.S. Sun.

“But essentially what they all boil down to is one person deceiving another through a romantic connection to get the person to invest in something or to steal their money,” he said.

This can happen over dating apps or in seemingly organic dating scenarios, Michael added.

HOW DOES THE SCAM WORK?

Most often, a romance scammer will reach out to a victim first, and then try to establish a relationship as quickly as possible.

Eventually, the scammer will ask for money, either in the form of cash or through apps like Zelle or Venmo.

In other instances, scammers may ask victims to disclose banking details or purchase items online.

“Often the biggest targets of these types of scams are the elderly or the recently divorced/widowed,” Michael said.

“These people are typically the most emotionally vulnerable and scammers take advantage of that,” he added.

To avoid ever meeting in person, the scammers might also say they are in industries that require travel or projects outside the US.

RED FLAGS

There are several warning signs one can look out for to avoid falling victim to romance scams.

The most surefire sign is someone who asks you for money, goods, or financial assistance without having met in person.

People should also be wary of anyone who claims that meeting them was “destiny” or “fate” and/or who reports a sudden personal crisis.

“Be wary of partners who ‘love bomb’ — that is, engage in extreme expressions of affection for you before they really know you,” Suzannah Weiss, relationship coach sexologist at BedBible, told The U.S. Sun.

“This could be a sign of someone who wants to win you over to manipulate you, whether by getting money from you or simply by trying to hijack your time, energy, and boundaries,” she added.

Someone who disappears suddenly on a dating site and then reappears using a different name is also an obvious red flag.

HOW TO STAY SAFE

To prevent people from falling victim to this scam, experts have shared some helpful tips.

First, never send money, trade, or invest based on the advice of someone you have only met online.

You should not share your current financial status with unknown and untrusted people.

Never share your banking information, Social Security Number, or other sensitive information with anyone, online or offline.

If an online investment or trading site is promoting unbelievable profits, it is likely a scam.

Lastly, be wary of people who claim to have exclusive investment opportunities and pressure you to act fast.



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