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

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – It’s Valentine’s Day week, and many thoughts turn to romance. That’s true for people in love as well as scammers.

Romance scams are as old as the internet itself and they’re still around because they’re successful.

The FBI says romance scams are responsible for over $500 million in losses every year. In 2022, the last year on record, the FBI says reported losses to romance scams were at least $739 million.

While many people may be able to see right through scams, romance scam victims are often lonely and vulnerable. When they’re approached by someone paying compliments, being interested in what they do and where they’re from, scammers have an easier time taking money from them.

Romance scam tactics are fairly common, and most work the same way. Victims may receive a text message from someone they don’t know. It appears as though the person sending the text has the wrong number.

Many victims respond by letting the sender know they’re looking for someone else.

The sender (scammer) then strikes up a conversation and keeps sending messages over a few days.

The conversation may be flirtatious, and the sender often encourages the victim to move to a different platform such as WeChat. After building trust, the scammer may say they’d like to meet in person.

They might set a date, time, and place but never show up.

Eventually, the sender/scammer will ask the victim for money. The FBI also warns of a new romance scam called “Pig Butchering”.

In this scam, the would-be suitor encourages the victim to get involved in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

They’ll offer to explain and even help set up an account. The money from the crypto-wallet can be drained or money easily exchanged without a paper trial.

Just like in real life, there are red flags that should warn you’re talking to a scammer.

Are they overly flirty? Do they compliment you for being friendly and attractive?

Is their texting grammatically correct? Most scams come from overseas, where English is not the first language.

Do they send a photo of a sexy-looking woman or man who could be a model? They likely are using a profile photo they found online.

You can do a reverse image search by visiting, Google Reverse Image Search, or (subscription required).

Dating apps have become much better at verifying users are who they say they are, but scams can still slip through the cracks.

If you’re using a dating app or website, you should not use the same profile photo that you use on social media.

A scammer may not get your last name or where you’re from, but they could do a reverse image search on your profile photo which will point to your Facebook, Instagram, or other social media account.

Romance scams are more common than you might think. Many victims will never tell anyone out of embarrassment.

If you have a friend or family member who might be looking for love, warn them. These romance scams work, and even smart people lose thousands of dollars to them.

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National Cyber Security