GREENSBORO, N.C. — According to AARP, there has been an explosion of cryptocurrency scams over the past two years. Experts say romance scams have become one of the top drivers of cryptocurrency fraud because once the criminal creates a deep connection with their victim, they can get that person to do things they wouldn’t normally do.
AARP gives the following advice when it comes to avoiding romance scams:
Romance Scam Warning Signs
- Your new romantic interest sends you a picture that looks more like a model from a fashion magazine than an ordinary snapshot.
- The person quickly wants to leave the dating website and communicate with you through email or instant messaging.
- He or she lavishes you with attention. Swindlers often inundate prospective marks with texts, emails, and phone calls to draw them in.
- He or she repeatedly promises to meet you in person but always seems to come up with an excuse to cancel.
- Do take it slowly. Ask your potential partner a lot of questions, and watch for inconsistencies that might reveal an impostor.
- Do check the photo, using Google’s “search by image” feature. If the same picture shows up elsewhere with a different name attached to it, that’s a sign a scammer may have stolen it.
- Do be wary of flirtatious and overly complimentary emails. Paste the text into a search engine and see whether the same words show up on websites devoted to exposing romance scams.
- Do cut off contact immediately if you begin to suspect that the individual may be a swindler.
- Do notify the dating site or the maker of the dating app on which you met the scammer.
- Don’t feel a false sense of safety because you’re the one who made the first contact. Scammers flood dating websites with fake profiles and wait for victims to come to them.
- Don’t reveal too much personal information in a dating profile or to someone you’ve chatted with only online. Scammers can exploit details like your last name or where you work to manipulate you or to commit identity theft.
- Don’t ever give an online acquaintance intimate photos that could later be used for extortion.
- Don’t send cash to someone you’ve chatted with only online or put money on a reloadable gift card for the person — you’ll never get it back.
Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network here.
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