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FBI El Paso warns of romance scams on Valentine’s Day | #datingscams | #lovescams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating


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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — FBI El Paso is warning residents of an expected surge in romance/confidence scams for Valentine’s Day.

FBI El Paso says at least 50 West Texans reported falling victim to a romance scam. Those victims lost a total of more than $900,000, according to the 2023 Internet Crime Complaint Center.

FBI El Paso says its estimated that 2 to 3 times that number of victims never report the crime.

In a confidence/romance scam, victims are lured into thinking they are in a relationship with someone, and are then tricked into sending money, financial information or personal information to that individual. Victims can also be deceived into laundering money, according to FBI El Paso.

FBI El Paso also says that scammers may follow a well-rehearsed script that has worked before and may wait for months before asking for anything of value.

“Scammers often use your likes to become the perfect partner and getting the victim to lower their guard,” said John Morales, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI El Paso Field Office. “Victims may feel embarrassed, but it’s important to come forward and contact the FBI if you suspect your online admirer is a scammer, so we can help bring them to justice before they break someone else’s heart and bank account.”

FBI El Paso has provided a list of red flags to lookout out for regarding these scams. Those are the following:

  • The scammer makes promises to meet in person but gives excuses as to why they can’t.
  • The scammer will ask for money once they gain your trust. Typically, they explain they have an owed debt, need financial assistance, or they ask for travel funds.
  • The scammer will request money through methods that make it hard to be traced and hard to get back.
  • The scammer may ask to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate directly.

FBI El Paso has also provided a list on how to protect yourself.

  • Be careful what you post and make public online.
  • If you suspect a scam, stop communicating with the person immediately.
  • Conduct a reverse image search of the person’s photo(s). If it is associated with another name or profile, it is likely a scam.
  • Take things slow and ask a lot of questions.
  • Never send money to someone you have only communicated with online or by phone.

If you suspect you are involved in a romance scam or you have fallen victim, report the incident to the FBI’s IC3 by visiting www.ic3.gov.

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