When Love Stinks – Romance Scammers’ Dirty Lies

Romance scammers break your bankers’ hearts. They take advantage of your desire for love, belonging, and affection for one thing – your money.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, 70,000 people reported a romance scam. Losses hit a staggering $1.3 billion in 2022. These thieves are master storytellers and emotional manipulators. They are targeting individuals of all ages in our communities – your neighbor, your child, your elderly parent, or even you.

Romance scammers mostly use social media, and dating apps, to find their targets. They diligently find out everything about a person to become their perfect match. They are pros at making a person fall head over heels, but when they are ready to meet in person, they have a reason why they cannot. Most claim to be stationed on a faraway military base or in fake occupations that prevent them from meeting in person.

Turn up your nose at these common lies that romance scammers tell.*
1. I, or someone close to me, is sick, hurt, or in jail.
2. I can teach you how to invest.
3. I’m in the military, far away.
4. I need help with an important delivery.
5. We’ve never met, but let’s talk about marriage.
6. I’ve come into some money or gold.
7. I’m on an oil rig or ship.
8. You can trust me with your private pictures.

*According to the FTC
Romance Scammers who found their prey in Southeastern Indiana
Friendship employees helped stop a romance scam in action for an individual falling for that last lie. After the pictures were sent, the scammer used them as blackmail.
 The individual was told to get cash and meet them in a parking lot. After a conversation with the bankers, this customer shared what had really happened, and Friendship was able to get help from the police and prevent any monetary loss.

Another customer began an online romance with a scammer in Australia. She became so engrossed in sending him money that she stopped paying her bills, including her mortgage. She spent her entire workdays communicating with him via her work computer. She inevitably lost her job and her house before she would admit it was a scam. Sadly, she lost hundreds of thousands of dollars before we could help.

Another customer was the victim of lie number 7. He met the love of his life online. She said she was a “doctor” and worked for the charitable organization Doctors Without Borders. The U.S. Government was preventing her from coming back home because she had to pay her own way. She didn’t have any money because she was volunteering all her time to help those less fortunate. The customer kept sending her money for airfare, luggage fees and other expenses.
 Every time he would send her money, the price would go up, or another travel roadblock arose. The customer lost thousands, but he eventually trusted his Friendship banker and realized it was a scam before he lost his life savings.

Four easy signs to sniff out a romance scammer. *
1. Nobody legit will ever ask you to help – or insist that you invest – by sending cryptocurrency, giving the numbers on a gift card, or by wiring money. Anyone who does is a scammer.
2. If someone tells you to send money to receive a package, you can bet it’s a scam.
3. Talk to friends and family about a new love interest and pay attention if they’re concerned.
4. Try a reverse image search of profile pictures. If the details don’t match up, it’s a scam.
*According to the FTC
When in doubt, talk to your trusted Friendship banker before sending any money.
There is no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed. This can happen to anyone. Scammers are pros and know how to manipulate. No judgement will be given. Friendship bankers want the best for you and your financial life. They have likely seen the scam before and can help you determine how to best move forward.
Learn more about romance scams by visiting ftc.gov or stop by any Friendship State Bank location

Steps to Take If you Fall for a Scam

Even the most diligent may find that they have fallen for a scam. It is scary and frustrating, but does not mean that all is lost. Follow these best practices to ensure you and your assets are protected. Read Steps Now