Romance scams are getting smarter and AI is helping | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

“Love is shown more in deeds than in words,” said St. Ignatius of Loyola. But what he never considered is that one day, those deeds would become dastardly and deadly, thanks to the internet and social media.

After investment scams, romance scams have the second highest losses on social media. In 2023, half of the folks who said they lost money to an online romance scam said it began on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. 

Romance scams are coming at us at such a fevered pitch that three of ConsumerAffairs’ panel of scam experts – Jon Clay, vice president of Threat Intelligence at Trend Micro, Josh Amishav, founder and CEO at Breachsense, and Ping Yang, director of the Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity at Binghamton University – all predict that 2024 will be love Lucifers biggest year yet.

A lot of the action begins early in the year when messages from long-lost friends make their way into people’s inboxes. Some of those are legit but then, there are also romance scammers trying to get close enough to get you to feel sorry for them and tug at your heart.

People tend to fall for both, simply because everyone wants to feel loved in some fashion. But now that we have Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our lives, romance scams have become more problematic. 

Is nothing real anymore?

No. Nothing is truely real anymore. At least not since AI came into existence. It’s especially true for those with a tender heart because they can play footsie with someone online and not have to worry about a real meet-up.

Don’t believe us? Watch this…

‘I remember you from Algebra class’

Your name, your phone number, your address, etc. are public information and all a scammer has to do is do a little digging to find out more about you via your social media profile and others who might have shared experiences – like the same high school or college – then come after you with their hearts a’blazing.

The generation that’s most at risk of romance scams is Baby Boomers because many in that demographic are widowed, divorced, or just downright lonely. 

If someone you fondly – or faintly – remember from school, all of a sudden appears in a social media ping, proceed with caution, but more importantly, proceed by digging for inconsistencies in their story.

Ask things like “What was the name of our school’s (basketball coach)” or if you have a yearbook from the year the supposed classmate was in, ask for a copy of their yearbook photo, then look it up in your yearbook to verify their identity. You can also use a reverse image search such as the ones from Google and, for a small fee, Social Catfish.

If the person’s story is inconsistent with what you remember or you don’t remember them from Adam, do yourself a favor and end the discussion right then and there. Block them, report them, but don’t take things any further because they’ll try and wedge their way into any little wiggle room you leave open.

Soldiers, diplomats, and surgeons working overseas

Scammers love to play heroes in faraway places, but the fact is most are phony Marines, soldiers, admirals, generals, diplomats, and surgeons who claim they can’t speak or show their faces because they’re in Afghanistan, Ukraine, or South Sudan.

Again, you have to make them prove they are who they say they are. 

“If they claim to be from a certain country, make sure that they are actually knowledgeable about the culture and traditions of that place. You might find that they don’t know anything about the place they said they’re from because often even their location is a lie,” Jordan at SocialCatfish suggests.

“Likewise, if they claim to work for a specific company, do some research. If they supposedly are important to the business, they should be featured on the company website or at least have a LinkedIn profile. If you can’t find information that supports their story, it’s probably not the truth.”

‘I think I’m falling in love with you’

Scammers claim to be in love. Even though you can’t meet these “friends” in person, they’ll chat with you every day. They declare love too soon, ask to marry you, and say they can share all your secrets (and money) with you. 

But all of those come-ons are just that – come-ons. And if you show any compassion, they then escalate to the money phase of their game.

“Once they gain your trust, they’ll ask for your help to pay medical expenses for them or a family member, buy their ticket to visit you, pay for their visa, or help them pay fees to get them out of trouble,” the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns. “They may even offer to help you get started in cryptocurrency investing.”

Phase Three for romance scammers is telling you how to pay – and pay quickly and in a way that makes it difficult for you to get your money back. Cash apps like Zelle, Venmo, and PayPal should be avoided. So should gift cards like Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, or Steam.

Add to that, anything tied to your debit card. The same is true for wiring money through Western Union or MoneyGram. And if someone wants you to transfer cryptocurrency, run fast in the other direction.

Smell something suspicious?

If you think someone is a scammer, stop what you’re doing and tell the online app or social media platform right away, and then tell the FTC at

Better safe than sorry. If it’s on Facebook, ask their investigators to verify the other person’s profile. Same with Instagram. If someone approaches you out of the blue, Google says it’s ready to help, too.

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