7 Ways to Avoid Romance and Love Scams Online

I believe that love is the most amazing gift we can possess! Do you agree? 

There are many scientific reasons that explain the proof that the chemistry of love can impact our physical, mental and spiritual well being in a positive way. Many people explain that feeling of butterflies in your stomach, or maybe a tingly sensation when you try to speak, when you are around someone you feel a connection to. It can be exciting!

I can still remember the first time I liked a boy. His name was Julius and many decades later I can recall that feeling, not necessarily the details, but how that love made me feel. Love has been a fundamental piece in my life. As the years have gone by, I have become more devoted to cultivating self-love, in addition to the love I have for my husband, my family, my friends and my passions.

It is part of our human nature to seek out opportunities to love and feel loved. Hackers, scammers, and Cybermonsters like to take advantage of our need to feel connected by exploiting our emotions.

if it's too good to be true, you're probably right - valentines day - love and romance scams

Romance and love scams are very popular. There are two main profiles that the scammer will use to try and trick you. SInce Valentine’s day is right around the corner, let’s prepare to celebrate love and protect our online well being.

Love Scam Personality 1: The Faker

This person likes to connect through love portals: social media, dating websites, email, and possibly other forms of communication like phone or text. The faker will slowly develop a relationship and a level of connection with their victim. They spend a lot of time researching what you like or dislike, what kind of information already exists about you online, and creates a persona based on what could attract and lure you in. This scammer creates a profile of you in their mind based on all the information that is available about you. Once the online romance becomes stronger and they have gained more of your trust, they will start sharing their struggles, family emergencies, sudden accidents, or other stories with the intention of asking you to provide financial support. Here are 5 red flags for this type of “romance”:

  1. If you are using a dating service, they ask to communicate outside via email or messaging. Most dating services monitor their services and could spot a scammer, so asking to talk outside of this website could be a way to escape detection.
  2. They make frequent promises to meet you in person but always cancel, or something happens at the last minute, so they can’t meet you. 
  3. They come up with excuses for not sharing or showing more pictures of themselves, or avoid video-chatting or even voice calls. This could be to avoid revealing their true identity.
  4. Their messages are vague and generic, they try to stay away from providing details about themselves and focus on gathering more information about you; which could be a trap if we are craving for attention and someone to listen to us.
  5. They indirectly or even directly ask for money or make financial transactions on their behalf, using your name instead of theirs.

Love Scam Personality 2: The Impersonator

The impersonator steals the identity and social media profile of real people. They will use their pictures, friends, and imitate/duplicate their online activity. When they pose as a particular person that exists online, they can gain your trust when you investigate them, because they seem “legit”. Here are 5 red flags for this type of “romance”:

  1. Their profile doesn’t match what their conversations with you. Their tone or the way they communicate is peculiar, or perhaps the details they give you are different from their public information. 
  2. Their story is inconsistent – they could send you an email or message with the wrong name, which means they could be scamming multiple people simultaneously.  
  3. It seems “too good to be true.” Even though they are already using a stolen profile, they will add glamorous pictures to highlight them as an attractive individual. Look out for photos that show them as a wealthy person or luxurious items/trips.
  4. The relationship progresses extremely quickly. They profess their love for you, and may even call you the love of their life in a very short period of time. Keep in mind that there are still some impersonators that will work to gain your confidence over time, so they could develop the relationship slowly.
  5. They indirectly ask for money, gift cards or financial support for a family member or friend. Or they may claim a sudden accident, sickness, etc. has befallen them and they need your help. 

It is hard because we want love, and as one of the most beautiful gifts, who wouldn’t want it? I have heard of many successful relationships that started online. I even have friends who are now happily married and enjoying an amazing life, all because they met through the digital world. There are certainly many real connections that are formed online, so don’t give up hope because scammers, hackers and Cybermonsters may try to deceive you. There are many things you can do if you are looking for love and want to keep you and your family safe.

7 Ways to Avoid Romance and Love Scams Online

Here are 7 ways you can be safe in your cyber love adventures:

  1. Trust but verify. Check their story, who they say they are, and their social media profiles. Online searches are very useful, you could even check if their photos are real using the image search option.
  2. Take it slow. Don’t share intimate details, financial details or photos of yourself that could be used to blackmail you or extort you.
  3. Use legit dating websites. Once you start talking to someone on a dating website, keep your communications on that service until you meet in person and can validate that they are a real person.
  4. Be suspicious. If you are asked to send money directly or indirectly, or if suddenly the person you are dating wants to meet in person, don’t assume they are innocent. Put your own safety first.
  5. Ask a friend. Share information about your conversations with this person with someone you trust. Use them as your sounding board, and keep the old saying “love is blind” in mind. Be open to their feedback, especially if they spot something suspicious 
  6. Listen to your instincts. When you think something is too good to be true, let your inner voice guide you. Most of the time you will be right!
  7. Be Mindful. Know what information that is available about you online. Remove details that shouldn’t be public like your date of birth, address, etc.

With these tips in mind, you can find a connection, and maybe even love online. 

Have you heard any success or horror stories about finding love online? I can’t wait to hear all about them!

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