Romance is in the air and in the scams this Valentine's Day. 

While online dating and social media made love connections easier, the platforms also make it easier for scammers to work.

"Catfishing" is a term that has been made popular by the hit MTV show, but it is a real-life concept. Con artists create compelling backstories and identities to get you to fall for someone who doesn't even exist. 

In some cases, "catfishing" can turn into an expensive heartbreak. 

Scammers will trick you into giving them personal information and inevitably cash. 

So, how do you know you're being love scammed?

For starters, most romance scams are fake profiles that steal photos from real accounts. Usually, these profiles claim that they are in the military, work overseas, or any other reason why they may be long distance to prevent an in-person meeting.

However, these scammers will exchange photos, phone calls, and even web chats to keep you hanging on.

What romance scams typically look like:

  • Too hot to be true
    • Good photos, tales of financial success.
  • In a hurry to exchange off-site, personal info.
    • Email, social media messengers, or phone calls are their go-to's. 
  • Moving fast.
    • A catfisher will talk about the future and long-term plans; how they've never felt 'this way' before.
  • Trust me? Trust me.
    • Scammers will insist you trust them, even asking you if you trust them. This usually leads to asking for money.
  • Don't want to or "can't" meet.
    • Again, claim that they are in the military, work overseas, or any other reason why they may be long distance to prevent an in-person meeting.
  • Poor grammar, bad spelling.
    • Poor grammar, bad spelling, and overall language that doesn't quite add up. 
  • Sob stories.
    • Scammer discusses hardships such as a sick relative, financial troubles, or stolen car. 

How to protect yourself:

  • Never send money or personal information - where you live, credit card. bank numbers, or even government ID numbers. 
  • Ask specific questions. Scammers will stumble over details of specific stories or profile information.
  • Do your research on names, email addresses, phone numbers, ect. - websites such as tineye.com and images.google.com to search for images can help with this process.

To report a possible romance or other scams, go to BBB Scam Tracker