xIoTz | Managed Cyber Assurance Platform

From Roses to Red Flags: Spotting Romance Scams on Valentine’s Day Before They Strike

February 14, 2024

Table of Contents

Love is wonderful but love online is a lot more tricky and definitely risky.

Romance scams, where scammers take advantage of emotions for money, are unfortunately common. These scams can leave people feeling heartbroken and financially hurt. 

Love Bites statistics

A romance scam is when someone pretends to be in love with you online, but they’re just trying to cheat

  • In 2020, reported losses to romance scams hit $304 million, a sharp increase from $33 million five years earlier.
  • In 2021, reported losses from romance scams reached a record $547 million, 
  • The number of people falling victim to romance scams evidently increased by over a fifth (22%) year-on-year in 2023
  • Over 66% of people surveyed in India have fallen victim to online dating scam
  • Women filed more romance scam reports with 50.3%, compared to men.
  • The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received over 19,000 complaints about confidence or romance scams in 2022, resulting in significant reported losses.
  • Millennials had the highest reporting rates for online romance scams at 62%, while Baby Boomers had the lowest at 33%.

Don’t worry, though—there’s certainly a solution! Learn about these scams and discover how xIoTz can assist you in safely navigating the digital dating scene.

Secure Your Love Online: A Cybersecurity Valentine’s Day Reminder! 

What are Romance Scams?

Romance scams are a form of online fraud where scammers create fake personas to build emotional connections with victims, ultimately deceiving them for financial gain. These scammers often target individuals on dating websites, social media platforms, or through email.

How Do Romance Scams Work?

Scammers invest time and particularly effort into grooming their victims, and thus showering them with affection, compliments, and promises of a future together. They manipulate emotions to establish trust and intimacy, creating a false sense of security. Once the emotional bond is formed, the scammer begins to request money under various pretenses, such as medical emergencies, travel expenses, or investments.

Common Signs of Romance Scams/How to spot a Romance scammer on Valentine’s Day? 

Recognizing the warning signs of a romance scam can help you avoid becoming a victim. Some common red flags include:

  • Too good to be true: Incredibly attractive, successful, and compatible with your interests and values.

  • No digital footprint: Fake profiles, stolen information, and identity theft with a fake digital footprint.

  • Quick Declarations of Love: Scammers often profess love or strong feelings early in the relationship. 

  • Excuses to Avoid Meeting: They significantly come up with excuses to avoid meeting in person or video chatting.

  • Asking Personal questions: Avoid answering questions about themselves, but ask a lot of personal questions.

  • Financial Requests: Requests for money, gift cards, or financial information should raise suspicion.

Types of Romance Scams

Romance scams can come in various forms on Valentine’s Day, each with its modus operandi. Some common types include:

Catfishing Scams

In catfishing scams, scammers create fake profiles using stolen photos and information to deceive their victims. They lure unsuspecting individuals into online relationships, often for financial gain.

Military Romance Scams:

Scammers impersonate as military personnel, thus exploiting the trust and admiration associated with the armed forces. They may claim to be deployed overseas and in need of financial assistance.

Investment Scams:

Some scammers pose as wealthy individuals or entrepreneurs, promising lucrative investment opportunities. They manipulate victims into investing money into fictitious ventures, resulting in significant financial losses.

New Trend on Romance Scam!!!!!

One emerging trend in romance scams involves scammers persuading victims to invest or trade cryptocurrency. This tactic capitalizes on the growing popularity of cryptocurrency and the allure of quick profits. Scammers lure victims into believing they’re investing in a promising opportunity, but in reality, it’s a ploy to steal their money.

Impact of Romance Scams

  • Financial loss: Victims may suffer monetary setbacks due to the deceitful nature of romance scams.

  • Emotional trauma: Emotional distress which can lead to negative effects on both physical and mental health.

  • Trust issues: Falling victim to a romance scam can deal with trust issues making it challenging to form new connections.

  • Sense of betrayal: Deception involved in romance scams can sense betrayal, impacting the victim’s outlook on relationships.

  • Psychological toll: Aftermath of a romance scam can be doubtful, influencing future relationships and self-esteem.

How to Protect Yourself from Romance Scams

While romance scams can be pervasive, there are steps you can take to safeguard yourself from falling victim:

Research and Verify

Before forming a connection with someone online, conduct thorough research. Verify their identity and background using search engines and social media platforms. Look for any unwanted behavior or warning signs. Do a simple Google search of their name and any other information about them. 

Use Google’s reverse image search tool to check that their photos are authentic.

Don’t let yourself be manipulated.

Maintain a healthy level of skepticism, especially when someone professes love or affection too quickly. Trust your instincts and be wary of individuals who avoid face-to-face interactions or make excuses for not meeting in person. 

 Scammers usually never meet in person — or will make plans and bail at the last minute. If they ask to pay for their transportation (like a plane ticket), refuse outright — they’re trying to scam.

Stay alert

Avoid clicking on any external links or providing One-Time Passwords (OTP) sent by the individual.  These actions could potentially lead to compromising personal information or falling victim to scams.

Never Send Money

Under no circumstances should you send money or provide financial information to someone you’ve met online, especially if you haven’t met them in person. Genuine love does not come with a price tag.

Educate Yourself and Others

Spread awareness about romance scams and educate yourself on common tactics used by scammers. Share your knowledge with friends and family to help protect them from falling victim.

Reporting Romance Scams

If you suspect you’ve been targeted by a romance scam, it’s essential to report it to the relevant authorities. Contact the platform where you encountered the scammer and file a report. Additionally, notify your local law enforcement agency or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The xIoTz Shield:

While complete prevention is impossible, xIoTz empowers you with advanced digital security tools to mitigate the risks:

  • Identity verification:

    xIoTz help verify the authenticity using advanced AI and image recognition, identifying inconsistencies and potential fakes.

  • Scam detection:

    xIoTz analyzes communication patterns and language used by potential scammers, flagging suspicious behavior and red flags.

  • Financial protection:

    xIoTz offers fraud detection and transaction monitoring tools, helping prevent unauthorized access to your financial accounts.

  • Privacy control:

    xIoTz empowers you to manage your online presence and data, minimizing the information scammers can exploit.

Conclusion

Technology can connect us with amazing people, but it’s crucial to be aware of the risks. With xIoTz as your security partner and your own vigilance, you can navigate the online world with confidence, protecting your heart and wallet from romance scams. 

Remember on Valentine’s Day, love should uplift and enrich your life, not drain your finances and leave you heartbroken.

Quick Links:

For Career Opportunities

For Partnership Opportunities

For a Live Demonstration

Explore our Blogs

Related Blogs:

Secure Your Love Online

The rise of Cyber Scam

social media Cyber Safety in the Age of Social Media

Top IO Cyber Crime against Women

Related Terms:

Cyber Hygiene

Cyber safety 

Cyber awareness

Posted in Awareness, Celebrations, Education, EventTags: