If you’ve ever been on a dating app or social media site and seen an attractive stranger suddenly appear in your inbox, you might have been skeptical. Anyone can use a stranger’s picture online, and impersonators love to act like they’re someone else to scam unsuspecting victims out of their money.
Today, we’re going to break down the tricks romance scammers use and how they “catfish” their victims. Hopefully these red flags will show you when the person you’re talking to online isn’t really who they say they are.
Scammers know what makes people tick. They’ll often choose pictures of people who are extremely good-looking to smooth over any inconsistencies in their online persona. While most people don’t like to face it, the fact is that people will forgive a lot from someone who looks very attractive.
If an unusually good-looking person approaches you online and acts overly friendly, this should be a red flag. While that might sound depressing, it’s just the truth: most people won’t just seek you out on a dating app and start ingratiating themselves to you. Scammers know how to make their fake profiles look irresistible to their potential victims.
Romance scammers are careful to never organize a face-to-face meeting or a video chatting session with their victims. After all, if they have to appear on-screen or in-person in front of you, it’s a bit difficult to disguise the fact that they aren’t who they say they are.
If you’re talking to someone online and they refuse to meet you for a video chat, this should be a red flag. Even if they don’t own a webcam or a smartphone, they could take a picture in front of a newspaper with the current day’s date to prove they’re a real person. If they won’t do this, they’re almost assuredly a scammer.
The biggest red flag you should look for in a romance scam is when the person you met online starts asking you for money. They’ll usually ask for the money in an unusual way, such as sending them gift cards or pre-paid debit cards.
This is a way for scammers to distance themselves from the fake identity you’re interacting with. If you meet someone online and they start asking you to send them money without even agreeing to talk to you over a video chat service, it’s time to run away. Even if they aren’t scamming you, you don’t want someone who won’t show you their face chatting with you in your life! They’re probably just after your money.