When I talk to consumers who have fallen victim to romance scams, they say things like “I can’t believe I fell for that!” Or, “I feel like such a fool.” But the truth is, consumers fall victim to these scams because scammers are GOOD at what they do.
1. Conduct an image search. We all know that scammers don’t use actual pictures of themselves, but what you may not know is that many of them have the nerve to use a photo of a celebrity or model. Smart right? Using a Google Chrome browser, right click on the image and hit “Search Google for this image,” and see what photos match. Fair warning: You might be surprised at what you find.
2. Make sure all of their stories add up. It may seem obvious, but read through your emails or text messages to see if their stories all match. Even the best liars slip up sometimes. Especially when everything they’re telling you is a virtual lie.
3. Ask them to skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, whatever you can do to get them on camera. If they’re avoiding you, that fishy aroma is a CATFISH.
Another tactic scam artists use is the sob story. They often say they need money for a sick relative, or they even create an entire website for a fake business that’s “going under” and say they need help. Don’t believe everything you hear. If you don’t remember anything else, remember this: Never send your money, or personal information to someone you don’t know.
At the end of the day, every single one of the victims I have talked to has a different story. So don’t hesitate to contact your local Better Business Bureau if you need help identifying a scam. And if you fall victim, don’t be embarrased to report it at bbb.org/scamtracker.
By Danielle Spang
Disclaimer: Views expressed on this Blog are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BBB Serving Northeast California.