Romance Scams 101, Guarding Your Heart and Wallet

From hearts to hooks, learn tips to avoid falling for a romance scam.

Fishing pole catching heart

Picture a heart on a fishing hook - that's how romance scams work. A scam happens when someone pretends to be someone else online to make you fall for them. Their intention is to start a fake romantic relationship to trick you and take your money. These scammers act friendly, caring, and believable. Learn how to guard your heart and wallet.

Common Signs of Romance Scams:

Scammers use different stories to fool you, like pretending to be in love or claiming to be from real places like banks, insurance companies, the government, or even your own family. Here are some things scammers might say to you:

  1. They want to meet you in person:
    Scammers will say they live far away, maybe in another country, working on an oil rig, in the military, or with some special organization. Be careful if they promise to meet but always have an excuse for why they can't.
  2. They ask you for money:
    Once they make you trust them, they'll ask you to help them with things like paying for medical bills, buying a plane ticket to visit you, getting a visa, or paying fees to get them out of trouble.
  3. They tell you how to pay:
    Scammers want your money fast and in a way that's hard to get back. They might tell you to wire money using companies like Western Union or MoneyGram, or ask you to put money on gift cards and give them the PIN code. They could also try to convince you to send money through apps or use cryptocurrency.

How to Protect Yourself:

If you use dating apps or social media to talk to people, here are some tips to stay safe from romance scams:

Be careful about what you share online. Scammers can use the information you post on social media or dating sites to trick you.

Take things slowly and ask lots of questions. Real love takes time, so be patient.

Watch out if the person seems too perfect or pushes you to stop using the dating app or social media to talk directly.

Never send money or gifts to someone you only know online or by phone.

If you think you're caught in a romance scam, follow these steps:

Stop talking to the person right away.

Talk to someone you trust, like friends or family, and listen if they're worried about your new love interest.

Search online for the person's job plus the word "scammer" to see if others had similar problems.

Use a reverse image search on the person's profile picture to check if it's linked to another name or details that don't match.

Remember, some people are good at making things seem true. Even if you have good intentions, never send money or gifts to someone you haven't met in person. If you think you're a victim of a romance scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at If you paid with wire transfer, credit, or debit card, contact your bank right away.

The information provided in these articles is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as the opinion of Central Bancompany, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and does not imply endorsement or support of any of the mentioned information, products, services, or providers. All information presented is without any representation, guaranty, or warranty regarding the accuracy, relevance, or completeness of the information.