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According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there were more than 21,000 reports of romance scams in 2018, with people losing a reported total of 3 million—a total that was higher than that of any other scam reported to the FTC that year.Knowing the warning signs of a romance scam and getting familiar with important safety tricks can help you prevent imposters from stealing your heart—and your money.These scams are intricately planned and can be carried out over an extended period of time (weeks, months or even years), as romance scammers invest a great deal of effort into gaining their victims’ trust—and ultimately their money or financial account details. There are several telltale signs that can indicate that your “fairytale romance” isn’t quite what it seems to be.Red flags are raised when someone you meet online: If you fall into the trap of sending funds to someone who later turns out to be a scammer, your financial institution may not be able to refund or reimburse your losses.If you think you are being targeted by a con artist, or have actually been ripped off, you can report the scam.You may be able to recover some of the money you lost, as well as prevent others from becoming victims of the same scam. Forward all future communication received from the con artist to the proper authorities.This includes your local police and federal authorities, as well as your embassy and the embassy of the con artist. This includes copies of e-mail exchanges between you and the con artist, phone logs (your phone company can supply a log of calls from your account), receipts for any money or gifts you've sent, the address where the money and gifts were sent, and any information about the con artist, including photos, name and address.
En español | More and more Americans are turning to dating websites and mobile apps in hopes of finding love and companionship.Online dating has become an accepted and acceptable means of meeting potential romantic partners.However, there are unscrupulous con artists ready to take advantage of unwary individuals.You also should file a complaint with your embassy and the embassy of the country of the con artist. Changing your telephone number and even moving to another location are extreme measures to consider only if you think your life is in danger.File a complaint with the con artist's dating service Web site, as well as with the ISP. Chris Blank is an independent writer and research consultant with more than 20 years' experience.