On top of losing her money, the fake “Andrew” disappeared, and Maria never heard from him again. The scammer may use photos from magazines and portray himself or herself as talented and successful. citizen working or serving abroad, or give a similar excuse to explain their inability to meet in person.
Fake profiles may have discrepancies or inconsistencies, like disproportionate height and weight, or be suspiciously vague. Online dating and romance scams often begin like any other online relationship: interested individuals exchange basic information, like their line of work, their city, and their hobbies and interests.
Millions of Americans use dating sites, social networking sites and chat rooms to meet people, but scammers use them too, and eventually they ask for money.
The FTC’s new infographic, developed with the American Bankers Association Foundation, lists common signs of online dating scams and how to handle them.
In the second instance, the scammer asks for money directly.
A scammer may beg for hundreds or thousands of dollars, claiming a family member became suddenly ill, he or she was robbed, or the person is having difficulty obtaining travel documents after spending all his or her money on a plane ticket to visit you.
For instance, some romance scammers express concern about their financial situation or ability to visit the victim in the hopes that a person will offer to send funds.Scammers may then ask their victims to leave the dating site and use personal email or instant messaging (IM).Con artists may express their “love” quickly and effusively, find similarities with the victim, and claim the online match was destiny.Criminals who perpetrate online dating and romance scams use emotional appeals to quickly gain their victims’ trust and then, just as quickly, exploit it.This leaves many victims not only embarrassed but also in financial distress.Once a person wires money to a foreign country, the money is generally unrecoverable.Online dating and romance scams are sophisticated operations that are typically conducted by criminal gangs.The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers.You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).If an online love interest asks you for money, it’s probably a scam.The Federal Trade Commission receives thousands of reports each year about romance scammers who create fake online relationships only to rob their victims.