THE United States Government has issued a warning to billions of cell phone users about three lies that scammers use to steal money.
Sneaky thieves use online dating apps or social networking to trick others into sending them money but there are certain things you can look out for to protect your bank account from being wiped clean.
When you meet people on dating apps, they usually want to email, call, or message you off the platform after some time and may even claim that it’s true love.
Romance scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps or contact you through popular social media sites like Instagram or Facebook, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Once the thieves trick someone into thinking they’re romantically interested in them and have gained your trust, they start to ask for money.
The scammers may ask for funds and say they’re for a plane ticket to visit you, maybe an emergency surgery or something else urgent.
People reported a record $547 million in losses to romance scams in 2021, which is about 80 percent more than the reports received by the FTC in 2020.
That year, people were reporting being scammed more by people asking for gift cards than any other payment method.
Based on stories scammers tell to complete their romance schemes in the past, the U.S. FTC shared three lies to look out for when you’re talking to someone new on the internet to protect yourself.
1. CAN’T MEET
Someone who’s trying to scam you will say they can’t meet with you in person, the FTC warned.
They might say they’re living or traveling outside the country.
The scammer may even claim to be working on an oil rig, in the military or working with an international organization.
2. REQUEST MONEY
Romance scammers will surely ask you for money at some point in your interactions with them.
Once they gain your trust, the FTC says they may ask for your help to pay medical expenses, pay for their visa or help them pay fees to get them out of trouble.
They could even request money from you and offer to help you get started in cryptocurrency investing.
3. PAYMENT METHOD
All scammers want your money quickly and in a way that makes it hard for you to get your money back, the FTC stated.
The thieves will tell you to wire money through a company like Western Union or MoneyGram or have you put money on a gift card.
They do things like this to pressure you into acting immediately and paying money but do be aware that it’s a scam.
Overall, the FTC says never send money or gifts to someone you like online if you haven’t met them in person.
If you think someone may be scamming you, the U.S. Government says to stop communicating with the person immediately.