Published February 11, 2020
As many as 17% of marriages begin online, according to a 2018 study. But tens of thousands of people each year find a scammer on the other side how is trying to trick them into sending money. A little knowledge is all it takes to stay safe.
Romance scammers create fake profiles and contact their targets through popular apps or sites. They build a relationship with their targets and, after gaining their trust, ask for money using a made-up story.
These scams can go on for weeks, months or even years. Since the scammers spend a lot of time making the person on the other end believe they are in a real relationship, an emotional attachment can develop that leads the victim to feel sympathy for the scammer’s story.
As long as the victim continues to send money, the scammer may keep asking for more. As soon as the victim says no, the tone of the conversation can change, becoming more abusive and manipulative in order to guilt the victim into continuing the relationship.
As with any scam, it’s harder to be taken advantage of when you stay attentive to details and careful about giving out personal information too freely.
When in doubt, remember: NEVER send money to someone you haven’t met in person!
If you think you are a victim of a romance scam:
Contact your bank right away if you think you sent money to a scammer.
If you need more help dealing with someone you met online, contact University Police.