Move Over St. Valentine
The new martyrs of Valentine’s Day are socially distant everyday Americans. Few social situations can make people feel as vulnerable as dating. In addition to the usual clothing decisions and the planning of your profile pic angle, now you also need to be on the lookout for romance scammers.
The internet is a blessing that can keep far–away families in touch. It gives you the ability to order whatever you want and have it shipped to your door. The internet has made it possible for people to post publicly whatever opinion they may have or meal they recently ate. Dating can now be as easy as uploading a picture to an app and waiting for someone to like it. Trouble is, that while the internet is famous for connecting people, it is also known for allowing individuals to lie about themselves.
Even during the internet’s early days of dial up modems and AOL chat rooms, people have been reinventing themselves online. Maybe the dreamy person to whom you’ve bared your soul is truly who they say they are or perhaps instead they could be someone who connects with tons of people daily, building rapport in an effort to get money from anyone that trusts them.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that, in 2019, romance scams were the costliest scams reported. Over $201,000,000 was lost and reported to the FTC due to romance scams. Oftentimes, these people find their victims online through dating sites, lull them into a gullible position by communicating with them frequently and then migrate the conversations away from the dating site to more private emails or text messages.
As thrilling as it may be for a stranger to profess love for you, the more quickly it happens, the more likely someone may be running a scam. Once a target is hooked, these swindlers usually claim they need money for anything from an emergency or hospital bills to gambling debt. They may even try to get you to volunteer the money by hinting that they’d love to meet but can’t afford the travel expenses. If you are considering whatever investment a potential date is asking for, please be mindful of how they want the money. Gift cards and wire transfers are the preferred way for scammers to get money because transactions like that are hard to trace and usually final. Avoid these methods at all costs.
Wanting to be cared for is not a weakness. Continuing to try, with caution, requires confidence and strength. Don’t stop putting yourself out there, virtually anyway. Just take that extra precaution of reverse image searching profile pictures and be wary of those new friends that can’t or won’t meet you in person after an extended amount of time. And if anyone ever wants you to buy gift cards or wire money to them, stop communicating with them immediately. Romance novels are also a pleasant escape and quite a bit cheaper!