Beware of Romance Scams When the Weather Heats Up

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Online dating services and social media apps have become popular options for people looking to find their life partner.

However, with the advent of these new technologies, scammers have emerged to try to trick unassuming romantics into sharing personal information that may prove more harmful than beneficial.

The Ross Township Police Department has shared a warning to those looking to find partners through the internet. Romance scams are emerging, tricking users into believing that the person they are communicating with is another person seeking affection. When in reality, the person on the other side is a cybercriminal who is using a fake identity to try to extort money from you.

Ross Township Police have shared the following signs to make sure you don’t end up with a scammer in love:

  • They live far away. They say they live in another city or another country.
  • If their profile sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do their interests and hobbies match yours? Do they have impressive work? Are they really attractive?
  • The relationship is changing rapidly. They profess love quickly and promise to get together or say they want to get married. They can request to move communications off the dating site. They ask for your phone number and other personal information.
  • They keep finding excuses not to come in person. Even if you pay for plane tickets, they will cancel at the last minute with a noble (and believable) excuse.
  • They insist that they need the money and tell elaborate and moving stories. Medical expenses for surgeries, gambling debts and family emergencies are common themes.
  • They want to send you money to deposit in your bank account. They set you up for a scheme in which you give money to others or deliver packages containing money, also known as “money laundering”, which is against the law .
  • They ask you to send them money in a very specific way. Wire transfers, pre-loaded gift cards, and newly created bank accounts in your name are common requests from cybercriminals. Once you give a little, they ask for more. Their messages become desperate or aggressive if you refuse.

Additionally, the department warns never to send compromising photos, reveal too much of your personal information, or give or accept money from someone you’ve never met.

Officials say that if you think you’ve been scammed, contact your bank immediately. Be sure to let the support team know which app these conversations took place on, file a report with your local police station, and report all recordings to the Federal Trade Commission.

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