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Signs of a Romance Scam: Is Your Online Sweetheart Really a Con Artist?

Signs of a Romance Scam

While you’re looking for your perfect mate online, you need also be on the lookout for several of the many signs of a romance scam.

It’s a very sad fact—yet a fact of online dating—that scammers and con artists are actively look for their victims online, whether dating platforms or places like Facebook. The facts tell the story. The Federal Trade Commission in 2021 received nearly 80,000 reports and complaints about romance scams, which added up to around $550 million in losses! The number of reports increased by 80% from the year before.

Sweetheart or scammer? How romance scammers give themselves away.

A scam artist won’t tell you what they’re up to, so it’s up to you to know how to spot the difference between a lover and a liar. Here are some behaviors of romance scammers that often give themselves away.

Signs of a Romance Scam

They are in love with your money…not you.

Online scams of any kind—job or investment scams—are bad enough, but romance scams are cruel. The thieves don’t care who they hurt, as long as they get an opportunity to steal their victim’s money.

The scam doesn’t even have to be on a dating app, like eHarmony, or Silver Singles. Fact is, a scammer can reach out to you on common platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, start  a conversation and slowly earn your friendship and trust.

Without a concern for your emotions, a romance scammer will break your heart while they break your bank account. Some victims have given a scammer their entire life savings.

Romance scams are generally targeted toward those 60 years of age and older, but anyone who’s on a dating site or who may be in a vulnerable frame of mind cam become a victim.

Better safe than sad and broke.

Here are some habits and practices to learn if you’re new to online dating, haven’t given this topic much thought until now, or friends and family who might be ready to give it a try.

Do this for everyone one you begin a connection with online with, if you think you want to continue carrying on a conversation. Don’t trust people. Trust your instincts and do your homework.

  • Set up a video chat like Zoom or Google Meet. A scammer will not be happy about that.
  • Research the person. Start with a basic Google search.
  • Go slow. Very slow. Consider someone a stranger for a long time.
  • Don’t share too much information. A scammer will use it to profile you.
  • Be careful with photos. Don’t send intimate pics of any kind.

Follow the Easy Prey podcast.

It’s never too late to learn, use and share good cybersecurity habits. Join the fight against romance scams and share this article and infographic with those you care about.

Chris Parker, CEO of, also hosts the Easy Prey podcast. He interviews guests on cybersecurity and scams, including romance scams. You can see a list of all episodes by searching for the Easy Prey podcast on your favorite podcast platform.

You can also see his podcast episodes by clicking the link below.

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