How to protect yourself from romance scams

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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- Whether you’re swiping left or swiping right, meeting someone new for the first time is always nerve-wracking. But, it’s not supposed to leave you high and dry.

That's what online scammers who are targeting the lonely and vulnerable do. Chief Deputy Prosecutor, Eric Tamashasky who has worked in the cybercrimes unit said if a dating profile is too good to be true, take caution. 

Anybody who ever wanted to have a relationship with another person or ever go on a date is eminently susceptible to these scams,” Tamashasky said.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, romance scams are one of the costliest scams in America, with consumers losing more than $300 million since 2020.  

If you suspect your new boo is scamming you, play it safe and take it slow. Tamashasky said never send money or gift cards to someone you’ve never met in person, pay close attention to their messages and how they answer you, and look for any inconsistencies with their story. A lot of the times these relationships seem hurried and they’re always based overseas doing something.

Lastly, talk to someone about your new relationship, sometimes we don’t notice any red-flags until someone points them out.

“Anything that gives you pause is something that you ought to be paying attention to," Tamashasky said. "Any sort of hesitation, if they’re pushing you into a webchat, if they’re dragging their feet, any of those things in the right timing could be a flag. It’s speed, it's what do they want, and they want cash.  

If you have fallen victim to these scams report them to your local law enforcement.

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