7 Common Signs of a Romance Scammer and How a Private Detective can Help

7 Tell-Tale Signs of a Romance Scammer

There are many success stories of people finding love and companionship online. Others have not been so fortunate, with romance scams costing Americans an excess of $200 million dollars, according to the FBI.

The criminals who carry out romance scams are professionals at what they do. They have the capability to carry out long-term and seemingly genuine and caring relationships, making it difficult to discern the warning signs. With dating apps and social media sites quickly becoming the primary means of meeting new people and making acquaintances, it’s imperative to understand the signs and motives of romance scammers to keep yourself safe.

Here are 7 signs to look out for when it comes to online romance scams.

1. Love Bombing

Grand romantic gestures in the early days of a relationship could be sweet – or a sign you’re dealing with a romance scammer. Fortunately, it’s possible to tell the difference. Love bombing is a manipulation tactic used to coerce someone into a relationship sooner or more seriously than they usually would.

Romance scammers profess their love quickly in an attempt to gain your trust and move the relationship forward.

2. Their Profile Contains Vague or Few Images

Oftentimes, romance scams will have an element of identity theft. Scammers tend to impersonate other people and as such tend to have fewer pictures on their profiles. But this is not a foolproof way to determine whether they’re using a fake profile as some people don’t like posting photos of themselves online. To err on the side of caution, it’s advisable to conduct a reverse image search to see whether their pictures appear elsewhere online.

3. The Scammer Wants to Move to a More Personal Communication Platform

Be wary of anyone online who asks for your phone number or email on a dating app before you’ve established a rapport. Dating sites often have measures in place to spot scammers and block them off their platforms. For this reason, it’s important to be cautious when you hand out personal information to people you’ve only met online.

On that note, be cautious of online love interests who ask for lots of detail about you but provide very little information about themselves.

4. They’re Reluctant to Meet in Person

Catfishing has become prevalent in the world of online dating. It involves taking profile pictures of other people to create an entirely new identity to form dishonest relationships online. While not all people who catfish are scammers, it’s imperative to be wary of anyone who never wants to meet in person.

Some are willing to make video calls but their webcams or phone cameras are seemingly always broken.

5. They Plan to Meet You, But an Emergency Always Comes Up

Romance scammers tell many lies, especially when it comes to what they do for a living. Generally, they choose jobs that require lots of travel like working on an oil rig or for an international organization. As such, they can make plans to meet and never follow through because they have the perfect excuse. Their stories are often elaborate and can be quite convincing and can involve a traumatic life event, family drama, or loss of business.

Be suspicious if their cancellation is accompanied by a request for a short-term loan.

6. They Claim to Need Money for Emergencies, Hospital Bills, or Travel

A good rule of thumb is to be wary of anyone who requests you for money, no matter how heartfelt their stories are or how dire their situation seems to be. There’s a good chance you’re being scammed if you encounter the following storylines:

  • “I need money to support a sick relative.”
  • “I’ve bought you a gift but you need to pay customs fees to retrieve it.”
  • “I need money for airfare or to get a visa so I can visit you.”
  • “I need a short-term loan to finalize a dear one’s funeral.”

Don’t make wire transfers to foreign bank accounts, put money on a gift card, or send cash as your financial institution is unlikely to return your money.

7. They Want to Send You a Large Sum of Money

Not all scams involve you losing money. Some people are looking for ways to launder ill-earned money and might just be willing to shower you with gifts and send you money. The only thing worse than losing money in a romance scam is ending up in jail because you unknowingly helped a criminal launder money.

So, don’t just give out your bank information to anyone and make sure to report any fraud suspicions to a relevant authority like the FTC.

Is Your Cyber Sweetheart Swindling You in a  Romance Scam?

Romance scammers are professionals, which means it’s harder and harder to tell what’s real from what’s fake. Hire a private investigator to conduct background checks on your online love interests to verify important details such as their identity and employment or business details. This way you can avoid falling prey to romance scams. Get the help of a private detective to determine whether your new love interest is worthy of your love.

At Sig 14 Investigations, we know that the rise of romance scams puts more and more people at risk of financial fraud every day. We’re experienced private detectives in Tampa trained to spot potential scams or abuse that could harm your financial well being. If you need assistance with background checks or a suspected cheating spouse, contact Sig 14 today to speak with our investigator and set up a free consultation.