Romance Scams: When Love Really Isn’t

ScamsToday, after we’ve just celebrated real romance on Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing information I found in today’s Sarasota Herald-Tribune about romance scams. Since these suggestions come straight from the FBI, I’m sure they want this information to be read by any and all who might be affected.

The Herald-Tribune article concerned internet scams on the rise in Florida, which has already claimed close to 1,200 victims who have lost more than $20 million. Scammers cozy up to the vulnerable, often lonely older people, and insinuate themselves into their lives and pocketbooks.

So here are some excellent tips to avoid being scammed yourself. Not my usual blog, true, but hopefully it will give all of us pause.

Don’t become a victim

To stay safe online, be careful what you post, because scammers can use that information against you. Always use reputable websites, but assume that con artists are trolling even the most reputable dating and social media sites. If you develop a romantic relationship with someone you meet online, consider the following:

‒ Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere.

‒ Go slow and ask lots of questions.

‒ Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or Facebook to go “offline.”

‒ Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.

‒ Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.

‒ Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally.

‒ If you suspect an online relationship is a scam, stop all contact immediately. And if you are the victim of a romance scam, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Have you been scammed or aware you might be? I hope this helps all of us see the pitfalls of internet friendships with strangers.


  1. Nancy C Lepri on February 19, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    I got scammed a couple of years ago with an alleged “company” sending me a check for $10,000. It really looked legitimate, but in order to cash or deposit it, I was to send them back $1,000. No way! It is so sad that we now live in a world where you have to be very alert.

    Thanks for sharing this, Emilie!

    • Emilie Richards on February 19, 2020 at 1:22 pm

      Unfortunately a lot of these scams are getting better. And even if they don’t specifically target the elderly or those in crisis, they sure do know how to pick up on that and use it. We had well-educated and kind people in our churches who fell prey to the email that claims to be from a loved one who is stuck somewhere and can’t get home. I guess all it takes is one lucky guess for them to get someone who “might” have someone in that situation. So sad. I’m glad you figured out that your situation was bogus, Nancy. Good for you.

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