Everyone wants to feel wanted. The simple pleasure of coming home to find a partner there waiting to hear about your day, share a meal, and just sit together while you watch a movie or happily scroll through your phone is something we can all relate to. However, what may seem like an everyday occurrence to some lucky enough to have found love, is a serious problem and often exploited emotion by others.
In 2020, the FTC reported gross losses from romance scams to be around $304 million. That is a huge draw to potential thieves willing to use our emotions against our better judgment and a disheartening statistic for those just trying to find a decent date. The good news is protecting yourself against such a threat only takes a few precautions.
What is a Romance Scam?
According to the FBI, a romance scam occurs when “a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust.” Once that trust is built, the criminal then uses this close relationship to manipulate funds from the victim or outright steal their hard-earned money and resources. This can be everything from promises of marriage where they never show, or building a complicated identity that holds up to everything except a romance scam investigator.
These are people scamming those among us that are so desperate for human contact or so trusting that we buy extravagant gifts for them. We spend our money because it makes us feel good to see them happy when in reality, they are just preparing a mental list of how much further they can milk us for what we’re worth.
How Does This Happen?
Let’s create an example. Meet Judith, a 57-year-old retired teacher, and widow who has a decent amount of income from her late husband. She’s been living alone for a long time now as her kids are all grown up and decides she wants to try online dating. She meets a few men, and things go okay, but nothing has that right fit.
Enter our criminal. He finds Judith’s online profile and researches her social media to discover all her likes, wants, and desires. He sends Judith a message, and they begin this fantastic whirlwind online conversation that lasts for a few weeks until he asks her to purchase a plane ticket for him so he can visit. Judith really likes this man, so she sends $3,500 for first-class round trip tickets, hotel, rental care, dinners, etc.
That’s it. Judith has just been scammed. Once the money is wired, she can no longer find any trace of her match and is suddenly out of a decent amount of funds. On top of that, she is still just as lonely as before and turned off from future dating because of the experience.
Simple Tips to Avoid Romance Scams
These criminals feed on our want to share our lives with a close partner. The best way to avoid falling into these traps is by hiring an online investigator who can verify the identity of the person we are matching with, or at least can provide us with some tips to protect ourselves like:
Don’t Share Personal Details
When you’re setting up a rapport with someone online, you should take it slow and get the know the other person well. You don’t need to send over your date of birth or home address to someone you’ve barely had more than a quick 20-minute chat. Think about if you met a complete stranger outside of a bank. What would you be willing to share with them? You would be happy to have a conversation, but maybe not about the personally-identifying info they can then use to get into your account.
Don’t Send or Receive Money
This is the number one tip! It doesn’t matter how convincing their story is, do not send money to them. This is the same for cash, checks, credit card info, or other financial details. You are trying to find a partner to enjoy life with, not someone to manage your finances. Even outside of romance scams, always verify the person you are sending money to is someone you know well and 100% trust before the funds are released. The same is true for receiving money. You don’t want to be legally responsible for something you do not know where it is really coming from.
Stick to Trusted Dating Sites/Apps
The top dating site and applications work hard to remove fraudsters and those who want to engage in romance scams. Anyone that wants to move your conversation to another platform should set off a red flag. They want the freedom to communicate with you via text or private message, where the dating app cannot provide you with any added protection.
Avoid the Webcam
There is nothing more thrilling than a new love showing interest in you, but you don’t know where and how that footage could be misused. Try to avoid camera activity until you have verified who the person is and if they are to be trusted.
Trust Your Instincts
This is the hardest tip because we are sometimes so lonely that we are willing to turn off our internal alarm system that tells us when something may not be on the up and up. Don’t ignore that little voice in the back of your mind telling you to be cautious. You have instincts for a reason, and they are worth listening to, if only at least for advice. If you feel like something is wrong, it may be.
When in Doubt, Hire a Professional
If you have entered into an online relationship or personal situation where something does feel off, reach out to a trusted professional like those at PRIVIN Consulting Network. There is no shame in hiring a professional private detective to conduct an online scam investigation, so you don’t fall into the romance scam trap.
You are putting yourself out there to find love and happiness, not to be scammed out of money and put into heartbreak. That is why the team at PRIVIN has some of the best investigators in the industry. Their experts come from government service, law enforcement, and military intelligence and have years of experience sifting through the many scams, frauds, and identity thefts that criminals use to scam you.
When you work with PRIVIN private investigators, you can expect their team to narrow down the exact identity of the subject of your affection. They will even try to obtain a verifiable IP address so they can subpoena the information needed with the assistance of an attorney.
This is not an extreme step, especially for those among us who have built up a decent amount of assets. They are happy to work with individuals to ensure they have a great dating experience without having to worry they are speaking with a criminal instead of a genuinely interested party seeking the same kind of relationship.
Stop putting yourself and your family’s good fortunes at risk and reach out to the professional and experienced team of private investigators at PRIVIN Consulting Network. They can give you the assurance and peace of mind you need so you can pursue the love and happiness you deserve. Schedule a meeting today through their website or speak with their excellent support staff. The Dating world is complex enough as it is. Leave the scammers in the cold so you can find the romance you’ve always wanted and give PRIVIN a call.