Be wary of romance scams this Valentine’s Day | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – The U.S. Secret Service continues to observe a significant increase in romance scams used for stealing funds from victims. A romance scam is a form of confidence scam whereby a scammer gains the trust of a victim by developing a romantic relationship. This relationship usually begins through contact on social media or dating applications.

It begins with a scammer engaging on social media, dating applications, or unsolicited “wrong number” text messages. The scammer will claim to be abroad for work or vacation or to be from a foreign country.

The scammer may offer to exchange photos or videos to reassure the victim.

Scammers may provide continuous excuses on why they cannot meet in person which is usually due to being abroad, having immigration related issues, or lacking money for travel.

As the relationship evolves, the scammer entices the victim to send personal or financial information, money, gift cards, or electronic devices.

The red flags ensue when the scammer asks the victim to send money for travel or business expenses, family emergencies and needs, or for investment opportunities.

The scammer may ask the victim to open bank accounts to receive money from business associates or projects or investments.

The scammer may ask the victim to send phones or other expensive items to addresses in the United States or other countries. The scammer may ask the victim to purchase gift cards and send pictures of the codes via the messaging application. The scammer will ask for assistance with a sense of urgency for medical emergencies, death in the family, legal or tax issues, border detainment, etc.

Video calls and messaging applications are not enough to provide proof of someone’s real identity.

Scammers can engineer proofs using technology, such as artificial intelligence tools, that can appear very convincing.

  • NEVER send money to someone who you have not met in person
  • NEVER open bank accounts or start businesses on behalf of someone else
  • NEVER send or receive money on behalf of someone else or to someone else
  • NEVER share your personal or finance information

If you think you may be a victim of a Romance Scam, contact the U.S. Secret Service Anchorage Resident Agency at 907-271-5148.

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