Looking for tips for avoiding romance scams? Let your friends at TextNow give you pointers on how to avoid getting phished while dating online.
Here’s a deeply unromantic statistic: According to the FTC, online seekers of love lost a whopping $200 million to romance scams in 2019 alone. That’s a lot of coffee dates.
And while every scam is awful, of course, there’s something a little extra horrible about preying on people’s weaknesses and loneliness. So what’s a lovelorn online dater to do?
Tips to avoid romance scammers
There are some red flags to keep an eye out for:
- Does the person have a profile pic that seems like they could be a model? Like your mother always said, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Are they moving very quickly? Going from “Hi” to “I love you” in a handful of messages?
- Are there any weird inconsistencies with their profile, or their messages?
- Are the messages vague and noticeably poorly written?
- Are they (and this is a big one), are they telling you an elaborate story about why they need money, as a prelude to asking for money?
- If you ignore or refuse their requests for money, do their messages get more desperate and insistent?
It goes without saying you should never send money to a person you don’t know in real life, no matter how much you like them. Often a scammer will ask you for a gift card (iTunes seems an especially popular ask) rather than outright asking for cash. Why? Gift cards are essentially untraceable – once someone uses the code that money is gone.
The sad truth about the internet is people can claim to be pretty much anyone, so having a healthy skepticism is key to keeping yourself safe.
One great trick to avoid romance scams
So let’s say you’re talking a person who’s tripping one or more red flags. How can you know for sure?
A very quick verification you can do is to use Google Image Search or TinEye , upload their profile pic and see what weird stuff shows up. A lot of scammers will simply steal a profile pic from a legitimate person, so if your image search brings up someone under an entirely different name, that’s pretty much a bullseye.