Romance scams can target people of any age, specifically those using online dating apps and social media platforms, trading forex, precious metals, and digital assets. In many cases, the victims believed they were in romantic relationships that had formed over several weeks, and are often conducted by people, and entities outside the United States and use unregistered trading websites or third-party trading software. We invite you to explore 10 ways that may help you avoid getting into dangerous situations that may cause you long-term heartbreak and losses.
- Keep conversations on the dating or social media platforms. Many platforms utilize harmful language filters that can detect fraud. Fraudsters want to quickly move conversations to private messaging apps to avoid detection.
- Screen capture the love interest’s profile picture or other pictures and use reverse image searches to see if they have been used in other scams or by other people.
- If contacts refuse to meet or video chat, that should be a red flag. Try other ways to verify their identities in real-time. For example, ask the person to send a selfie holding a piece of paper with your name and date next to his or her face.
- Check to be sure the people or firms you trade with are registered with federal or state authorities. Relying on registration alone won’t protect you from fraud, but most scams involve unregistered entities, people, and products. Learn more, visit gov/check.
- For forex trading, check with the National Futures Association, futures.org/basicnet.
- For virtual currency, see if the platform is registered as a money service business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (gov/msb-registrant-search)or with your state using the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (csbs.org/nationwide-multistate-licensing-system).
- Never make payments or give sensitive information to anyone you’ve only met online.
- Before making any investment, get a second opinion. Talk it over with a financial advisor, trusted friend, or family member.
- Don’t trade in markets or products you don’t fully understand.
- Never pay more money to get your money back. If you suspect fraud, report it immediately to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, gov, or cftc.gov/complaint.
- Learn more about romance scams at ftc.govor other reliable websites.
- Learn more about spotting and avoiding forex, precious metals, or digital asset frauds, and stay current on developing trends, visit gov/LearnAndProtect.
Article courtesy of Financial Crimes and Enforcement Network.