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Romance scams are increasing, making the search for an online love connection challenging. It's crucial to safeguard both your heart and finances from romance scams.

Romance scams are increasing, making the search for an online love connection challenging. The expansion of various technologies adds complexity to verifying people's true identities online. While enjoying romance and meeting new people is valuable, it's crucial to safeguard both your heart and finances from romance scams and verify that people indeed are who they say they are.  

Romance Scams: How They Work 

A Romance scam is a sneaky cybercrime where scammers create fake identities to build a connection with you. They play the long game, starting with a fake profile. Whether they make the first move or wait for you, they'll craft a compelling story to gain your trust. Once you're emotionally involved, they'll start asking for money, gift cards, or personal information, claiming it's for relationship progress, like a new phone to talk to you on or a plane ticket to visit you. In reality, these scammers are really just after your money and financial information. 


Identifying Red Flags in Online Relationships  

Recognizing red flags in someone you meet online is just as important as in-person interactions, and polishing up on this skill is essential to identifying and avoiding scams.  


Warning Signs of a Potential Romance Scam 

While meeting the person of your dreams can be wonderful, it's crucial to be vigilant for warning signs of a scam. Familiarizing yourself with these scenarios will help you cultivate a healthy relationship and weed out any online scammers. 

  • Scammers say they can’t meet you in person. They might say they’re living or traveling outside the country, in the military, or for an international organization.  
  • Scammers will ask you for money. They might ask for your help to pay medical expenses, buy their ticket to visit you, or even help them pay fees to get them out of trouble.  
  • Scammers will advise you on how to pay. All scammers, not just romance scammers, want to get your money quickly and paid in a way that makes it hard for you to get it back. They might tell you to wire money, put money on gift cards, or send money through a peer-to-peer transfer app like Venmo.    


Protecting Yourself from Romance Scams 

Dating can be challenging, and while it’s important to open up to someone to get to know them, don't let your guard completely down. Take precautions as you get to know someone and always prioritize your safety. After all, it’s your heart and finances that are on the line. 

  • Take It Slow: Take your time getting to know someone online. Scammers often rush the process, so don't feel pressured to share personal information too quickly.  
  • Guard Your Personal Information: Be cautious about sharing sensitive details, such as your address, phone number, or financial information. Genuine love interests will understand the importance of taking things step by step.  
  • Stay Private on Social Media: Keep your social media settings private. Scammers often gather information from your profiles to build a convincing story. Lock down those privacy settings and keep your personal life just that—personal.  
  • Don’t Accept Unusual Friend Requests: If you get a friend request on social media or a potential match on a dating app, check the person’s profile for red flags. 
  • Beware of Red Flags: If something feels off or too good to be true, trust your instincts. Scammers often create elaborate stories to gain your trust. If you're in doubt, take a step back and reassess the situation.  
  • Verify Before You Virtually Commit: If someone claims to be overseas or has a story that pulls at your heartstrings, verify their information independently before investing emotionally or financially.  
  • Talk to Someone You Trust: Share your online interactions with a friend or family member. Sometimes an outside perspective can help you see things more clearly.  
  • Never send money or gift cards: Romance scammers may ask for wire transfers or gift cards – do not send money to anyone in a way that is hard to get back.  

Online dating offers a great way to find romance, and we want you to have a positive experience. Stay informed, learn to spot red flags, prioritize your safety, and you’ll be well on your way to protecting your heart and finances while finding a genuine connection online. 


About Members Choice Credit Union

At Members Choice, we strive to exceed your expectations. We believe in people-helping-people by providing sound financial solutions and resources, as well as sharing our passion for supporting the community. As a full-service financial institution based in Houston, Texas, we have proudly served the West Houston, Katy, and Cy-Fair areas for more than 81 years. For more information, visit


Post by Members Choice Credit Union
January 26, 2024