Previous | A good case for a corporate fiduciary Next | In the market for a mortgage? Your time may be now
November 08, 2019 / Ray Wills
Don’t let love blind you: avoid the online romance scam

Don’t let love blind you: avoid the online romance scam

You’ve met the perfect match online.

The dating app messages quickly lead to texts, then phone calls. Shortly thereafter, your new love arranges plans to meet in person. He asks you to send money to cover his travel expenses.

That’s when the trouble starts. There was a medical emergency, he says, and he used the money you sent him to pay his hospital bill. If you send him more money, though, he’ll be able to come this time. But after each new request for funds, he has a different story about how he had to spend the money on an unforeseen situation. Eventually, you’re left broke and brokenhearted.

This is standard operating procedure for what’s known as “the romance scam,” and it’s on the rise. Despite warnings issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), this scam was reported more frequently than any other in 2018, with victims claiming over $140 million in losses.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to see why this scam is so successful. Scammers take advantage of the desire everyone has for romantic relationships, and — as they say — love is blind. That’s the whole point of the scam: to gain your affection and blind trust for the sole purpose of taking your money.

Four warning signscomputer screen displaying the words Fraud Alert

As online dating grows in popularity, and romance scams skyrocket, it’s more important than ever to be leery of online predators.

Here are four signs that you’re talking to a scammer, according to the FTC:

  • He or she is quick to profess love.
  • He or she claims that he or she is a U.S. citizen, working internationally for business or military purposes.
  • He or she asks for money, even though he or she has never met you.
  • He or she wants to leave the dating site immediately and talk via personal emails or texts.

And here are some common things a scammer says he or she needs the money for:

  • Unexpected legal fees
  • Medical emergency
  • Rent due to a job loss
  • Tuition/education expenses
  • Passport
  • Taxes

So, guard your heart and your bank account. Don’t send money to someone you don’t know — even if you’ve been talking to this person for years. Remember that the person behind that perfect online profile may just be someone trying to steal your money.

Ray Wills is the security officer at F&M Trust

Recent Articles
Four steps to budget like a pro
Four steps to budget like a pro

Four steps to budget like a pro

February 18, 2020 / Paulo Oliveira

An estate tax story
An estate tax story

An estate tax story

February 11, 2020 / The Merrill Anderson Company

Everything you need to know about emergency funds
Everything you need to know about emergency funds

Everything you need to know about emergency funds

February 06, 2020 / Christian Merritt

The Big Game Predictor, go 49ers?
The Big Game Predictor, go 49ers?

The Big Game Predictor, go 49ers?

January 31, 2020 / Warren hurt

Careful - that stock might not be what you think it is
Careful - that stock might not be what you think it is

Careful - that stock might not be what you think it is

January 21, 2020 / The Merrill Anderson Company

How to negotiate a higher salary
How to negotiate a higher salary

How to negotiate a higher salary

January 08, 2020 / Dr. Karen Carmack

What Your Credit Score Really Means
What Your Credit Score Really Means

What Your Credit Score Really Means

January 01, 2020 / Amanda Kegerreis

Investment Outlook
Investment Outlook

Investment Outlook

December 27, 2019 / The Merrill Anderson Company

The Ins and Outs of a Cash-out Refinance
The Ins and Outs of a Cash-out Refinance

The Ins and Outs of a Cash-out Refinance

December 20, 2019 / David Bimler

Join our e-newsletter

Sign up for our e-newsletter to get new content each month.

NOTICE: YOU ARE LEAVING F&M TRUST!

You are now leaving the F&M Trust website. Links to third-party sites are provided for your convenience. Such sites are not within our control and may not follow the same privacy, security or accessibility standards as ours. F&M Trust neither endorses nor guarantees offerings of the third-party providers, nor is F&M Trust responsible for the security, content or availability of third-party sites, their partners or advertisers.