By Craig Erwin, Ph.D.
Romance scams jumped 80% from 2020 to 2021. These scams involve victims sending their life savings to someone they’ve never met face to face. Tinder, Facebook, and Instagram are minefields. Victims have lost $1.3 billion since 2017. The largest losses in 2021 were paid in cryptocurrency.
After they meet, the scam artist often tries to convince the victim that he is a successful investor. He soon offers investment advice, usually involving foreign exchange trading or cryptocurrency. When the victim follows the scammer’s advice, she ends up losing all of her money. And it’s not 20 somethings who are most at risk; it’s people 55 and older.
In a case of art imitating life, the Tinder Swindler, a documentary, is immensely popular on Netflix. It tells the true story of a romance scam artist who is accused of conning $10 million out of women he met on Tinder.
The FBI strongly advises you to take the following steps to protect yourself if you are romantically involved with someone you met on line:
Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the image, name, or details have been used elsewhere.
Go slowly and ask lots of questions.
Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate directly.
Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse for why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.
NEVER send money, cryptocurrency, or gift cards to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone, regardless of how in love you are or how in love they say they are with you.
Have you fallen for a romance scam? If so, did you lose money? Do you have tips on how to protect oneself from scams? Are you sure that you are investing wisely today?
For more information on romance scams, cryptocurrencies, investing, and Bitcoin, click on the following links: