How Con Artists Are Using Romance Scams in Today’s Socially Distant World


“Looking for love in all the wrong places” isn’t just a song lyric by Johnny Lee. It’s also the best description of how scammers look for their victims. Whether you’re a big softie who just wants to find the right one, or your parent is falling prey to the siren song of a romance scammer, beware—romance scams are prevalent in Atlanta, GA, and no one wants to be catfished.

Here’s how to recognize con artists on the internet.

Who isn’t looking for love?

Look—we all want love, and as the start of the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its first anniversary, many of us are starved for human contact. But when you’re specifically looking for love, you open yourself up for a lot of vulnerability, and not just when that person you like doesn’t text you back. You (yes, you) are a potential source for a scammer, but even worse, if you have a lonely parent or elderly relative, they can be even more vulnerable to scams. Before you find out Lonely Dad has wired all his funds to a suspicious lady in a far-off, exotic land, it’s best to understand that everyone can fall victim to a scam.

That means you. If you’re on a dating app, you may be a romance scam victim.

How to spot a romance scammer

We know you’re smarter than that (isn’t everyone?), so here’s how to help others spot it before it even starts:

  • They live in a remote area and can’t quite meet you—yet: This is the telltale sign of most romance scammers. They refuse to meet their targets, whether they “can’t” or just won’t. Perhaps they are not the dreamy Nigerian prince one has always hoped for?
  • They ask for money: If your romantic interest has asked you for money before you meet, give that a hard stop. Your Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble, Hinge or other online date should never ask for funds before they ever meet you. In fact, to avoid scammers, try to meet them a few days after you initiate contact. (It’ll protect you from scammers as well as unrealistic expectations.)
  • They never seem interested in your real life: Wouldn’t you love somebody to love? It’s not just a Jefferson Airplane lyric—it’s a real problem when it comes to romance scammers. Does your online paramour seem interested in your day-to-day happenings, like, “My garden is wilting in the hot summer sun,” or “I don’t know what to do with this abundance of peaches”? If you can’t carry on a true conversation with someone online, it might mean they’re a scammer.

What to do if you spot a romance scammer

If you think you’ve been the victim of a romance scam, the first thing to remember is that there’s no shame: they took advantage of you. To that end, please report them to the FTC.

If you need help working on your finances, or if you believe you’re being catfished in Atlanta, GA and are worried about your accounts, Emory Alliance Credit Union is here to help. Call us today to learn more.

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