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Romance Scams

Using fake online identities to gain a victim's affection and trust.

Romance Fraud Hero Image

You meet someone online, talk often, fall in love, can’t meet in person, and then they start asking for money. Maybe they live “overseas”, maybe they’re “deployed”, but regardless there is always a reason you never meet in person. It seems like something that’s easy to spot, but due to the emotional nature, trust built, and long span of these scams, victims often don’t realize they’re a target until it’s too late. Romance scams predate the internet, but online dating and social media has made them more common than ever before. According to the FTC victims reported a record $547 million in losses to romance scams in 2021.

Here’s how to spot a potential romance scam:
  • They can’t meet in person, or ask you to pay for the cost of their trip.
  • They ask you for money. It could be for a family emergency, a visa, travel, medical bills, or other urgent situation. Usually this will not occur until you’ve talked frequently, and they have gained your trust.
  • They will pressure you to send money immediately and insist on methods that are hard to reverse once sent: wire transfers, gift cards, peer to peer payment services, or even cryptocurrency.
If this sounds like someone you’ve met online, stop before you send them anything:
  • Get a second opinion. Ask a friend, family member, or even an Affinity representative, if the situation sounds suspicious.
  • Do an online search for their story or picture. Scammers will often use the same story over and over and use pictures from legitimate social media profiles. If you find profiles with the same picture and different names attached or online information matching their story, there’s a good chance it may be a scam.

If you’ve already sent money, don’t be embarrassed and don’t wait! If you suspect that you are a victim, you can contact our Member Solution Hub at 800-325-0808 for assistance.

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