New twist on old ‘romance scam’ has thieves asking to send you money | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

You smell the flowers in the store and see the heart-shaped candy and gifts. This is the time of year when people may feel extra lonely and more vulnerable to fall for romance scams. Amy Davis warns that there’s a new twist on the old romance scams you’ve heard about.

How does a romance scam work?

A typical romance scam often works like this: Someone contacts you on social media, maybe you think it’s a past boyfriend. Or, you meet someone on a dating app.

You start messaging and later may send them money for something, like a plane ticket to visit. The person, of course, is just someone stealing your money. But now this “romance scam” is going a step further.

Instead of “asking” for money “romance scam” thieves are switching it up.

“But what they do is scammers will actually send their victim’s money saying, you know, I’m coming to live with you. I need you to put a deposit on my rent. Can you also pay off my taxes? They’ll come up with all kinds of lies, right? But then what happens is they’re just trying to get you to take their money and move it. It’s money laundering,” said Jennifer Salazar, BBB Education Foundation.

Jennifer Salazar with the Better Business Bureau Education Foundation helps warn seniors about scams. In a recent Ask Amy episode Salazar told me about a 98-year-old woman who was tricked into money laundering.

RELATED: Top tricks thieves use to trick senior citizens

“She asked to borrow her kiddos, laptop. And the kid was like, why is mom all of a sudden into my laptop? Turns out it’s a romance scam. She looks at the history. She saw, where she was sending them all this money, and then she’s like, but he’s sending me money too,” said Salazar.

“So that doesn’t make sense. That wouldn’t be a scam, is what they’re thinking,” said Amy.

“Yeah, exactly. But he’s helping her. She’s helping him pass the money on. Keep that money going harder for officials to find that money because it’s being laundered,” Salazar explains.

Is it a scammer?

There are a few ways to tell you might be involved with a scammer.

Do a reverse image search and see where else the same photos may have been used. You can simply add the photo in the Google Photos search bar to see photo results.

  • Be suspicious of requests to wire money or use a prepaid debit card

These are scammer’s favorite because like cash it can’t be recovered once the money is gone.

  • Be aware, that this type of thing may not just happen online.

“They prey on people and they may even come to your door with flowers, roses, candy. They prey on you. And then you got to remember that there’s a lot of people probably in the same scam, and they’re being paid to do this, and then you’re paying them. It becomes a big mess really quickly. Yeah. And the biggest thing about the romance scam, and this is funny, but my dad always says, if you want to meet somebody, meet them in person. Don’t trust online. Don’t trust, you know, text, don’t trust anything,” said Salazar.

The BBB says the most popular target for these types of scams right now is women in their 50s and 60s. Anyone can be a victim.

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