What Is A Romance Scam Online And How Not To Fall Victim To It

The online dating world isn’t easy to navigate and that’s not even considering romance scams. Unfortunately, these aren’t just about stealing money or information; they can also break your heart and your trust. 

It’s like the plot of a bad movie: somebody pretends to be your perfect match, but it’s not true. If you stay cautious and informed, it’s possible to avoid falling for these heartbreaking scams. 


Red flags to watch out for 

If you spot a romance scam early on, you’ll be fine. 

Typically, these involve a fake account and an online persona that will match you in every way, pretending they want a relationship with you. They’ll show affection and make you believe you’re soulmates. 

Once you start trusting them, they will ask for money or personal information that they can sell, like pictures. These people are experts at manipulating your emotions, making up stories that will make you feel bad if you don’t help them. 

Here’s how you can spot a romance scam a mile away:

  • If the relationship goes too fast, it’s a red flag. Especially if you haven’t met them in person, they might be declaring their love for you or wanting you to commit only a few weeks after talking for the first time. 
  • They might come up with the wildest stories to not meet in person. Constant emergencies, problems at the airport, unchangeable travel plans: everything they can throw at you. 
  • They can ask for financial information or ask for money very early on. Don’t trust them!
  • In most cases, they won’t have a significant social media presence, and they won’t pick up the phone if you want a video call or any other proof of their identity.  


Protecting yourself against these scams

Romance scammers are using apps to communicate with their victims more than ever. Here are some tips to protect yourself from them. 

1. Pay attention to your safety

The early stages of an online relationship are perfect for you to pay attention to spot red flags. Take your time to get to know the people you want to be with. 

Remember to be smart when it comes to your data and photos. Be mindful of what you share, especially if this person is continuously asking “too deep” questions in the beginning. Sharing intimate pictures can also play against you if they use them to blackmail you. 

2. Check their identity

If you’re not sure about the person you’re talking to, use tools like reverse image searches. Scammers will use fake profile pictures, and you might find out who the real person is through a reverse image search. 

Another simple tip is to ask them to video call. This reduces the risk of stumbling into a relationship with a fake person. Remember, if they were real, they wouldn’t have a problem confirming their identity, and they should want to confirm yours!

3. Don’t ever send them money or share financial details

This sounds like a basic precaution, but believe me, it isn’t. Scammers will use all the techniques in the book and more to pull at your heartstrings and get you to send them some money their way. 

Regardless of what they say, remain cautious. They will tell you heartbreaking stories and recount their hardships, but this doesn’t mean it’s true. Keep that boundary for the people you meet offline as well. 

4. Trust your intuition

Your gut will alert you of something even before your brain catches up. When things feel strange or too good to be true, chances are, they are. If something in their behavior causes you to second-guess things, don’t ignore it. 

You have to be aware that your safety comes first, no matter what. It’s okay to take a step back and reevaluate the connection. 

If you’re worried about cyberattacks that stem from romance scams, getting a VPN might be a great security measure. Protect your money and your heart as well. 



Finding love online can be exciting, but just as in real life, it comes with risks. Romance scams target the innocent and the hopeful, so don’t forget to prioritize yourself. 

Pay attention to red flags, and don’t hesitate if you want to verify someone’s identity. Let your heart guide you, but stay sharp. It’s possible to find love!


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