The romance scam is one of the most common scams that we see at the credit union, but at times, is one of the most difficult to convince members that they are falling victim to. Millions of people each year turn to dating sites or social media to meet people. Don’t feel embarrassed if this hits home. Rather, consider evaluating red flags if this story sounds all-too-familiar.
There are a few red flags you will quickly notice if you’re involved in a romance scam.
- The person you now have an online relationship with professes their love or affection to you quickly but makes some sort of claim as to why you can never meet them in person.
- Your new ‘friend’ asks for money for some sort of urgent dilemma they need to deal with. Such as a sick family member, hospital bills, or as if it would be for travel to see you but then quickly cannot come due to an emergency.
- Or, if your new love interest ever asks you to send them gift cards in return for you cashing a check on their behalf it’s a sure-fire way to know it’s a scam.
Here’s what to do if you enter an online relationship or friendship.
- Slow Down. Don’t rush into something you’re not sure of. If you have a bad feeling in your gut, it’s best to trust it.
- Listen to others. Most are looking out for you, if they suspect your relationship is scam-like, don’t feel defensive rather ask them to help you see why they feel this way. It could save you a lot of heartache and money.
- Never give out your banking or personal credentials no matter how much you feel you trust the person.
- If you have fallen victim, tell someone! Contact your financial institution right away and be sure to report the scam.
Romance scams can happen in a variety of ways. The moral of the story – if you are in a relationship with someone from a dating app, or social media be careful! For every success story that there is, there is an equal amount, if not more, of stories where people are taken advantage of. Don’t fall for it. These are the moments that scammers have been working towards and building trust for. If you are ever in a scenario like this, contact us and let us help you navigate the waters. It’s always better to be too careful rather than too trusting. Or else, it can cost you a lot of money.
For more information on what you need to know about romance scams, such as lies romance scammers tell, how to report a romance scam, and more, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Website.