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It might seem a little strange that your bank is offering romantic advice.
But if you’re one of the millions of people trying to connect with someone through the world of online dating, there’s a growing problem you need to know about.
Scammers are making fake dating profiles so they can deceive you into falling for them, then trick you into sending them money. Some scammers are even conning their victims into committing online bank fraud.
1. You get a message from someone who seems interested.
2. Fairly quickly, they want to leave the dating site to communicate through instant messaging or email.
3. You chat, maybe talk on the phone and start to form a connection.
4. They profess their feelings, maybe sooner than you might expect, and they might even suggest getting engaged or married.
5. Your new love interest asks for money – usually for a supposed medical emergency or to pay for an airline ticket so they can visit you.
6. They might ask you to set up a new bank account. Once they transfer money into the account, they ask you to wire it out of the country (not telling you the money they transferred was stolen, and when you wire it out of the country, you are aiding and abetting a crime).
What’s hard about this type of fraud is that victims’ feelings are often real – but the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says an online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scammer.
Our security experts say romance scams are more common than you might think. We see at least one or two customers a month fall for some kind of romance scam. Scammers play on emotion. They go after lonely people, start talking to them every day, and they build that connection, sometimes over the course of 4 or 5 months. Once they get that connection, they play it.
Romance scams affect men and women of all ages and walks of life. And it’s not uncommon for people to lose tens of thousands of dollars through such scams.