Protect Your Heart and Finances from Romance Scams

November 30, 2021
Jackie Porter

Article written by Jackie Porter

The dust has settled on your divorce. Recently you are thinking about what it would be like to have a real partner in your life. The thought of dating again and restarting romance scares you… Yet you are thinking that perhaps it can prove to be a great distraction to help you forget the turbulence of the last few years. Over a glass of wine, you peruse a few sites with friends and start to fantasize about finding love again. One person catches your eye. Their charming smile and hazel eyes make you think of someone who would have stepped out of a magazine.

Could your romantic future be staring back at you in this picture? Before you plunge into the dating pool and fall headfirst for the person who sends you a charming message…. Take heed- romance scams are among the top 10 scams affecting Canadians according to the Anti-Fraud center. Costing Canadians more than 18.5 million in 2020. Protect your wallet and heart by looking out for the following warning signs as you seek out lasting love again.

The relationship and romance moves at a rapid pace.

Perhaps you sent a message. Before you know it, your inbox flooded with messages from your new love. This can be exciting. Keep in mind scammers are good at staying in touch no matter who started the conversation. They are adept at contacting you all the time, being complimentary and doting on you. It may feel good to you to see your connection with this person growing so quickly. Often that’s the point. Your new love may want to build trust quickly. The more you feel close to them the more you are likely to let your guard down. As you message more often, they may ask you to move off the dating platform to email, phone or instant messaging to make it easier to communicate instantly.

Protect your heart by slowing down the getting to know you process.

Don’t share too much about yourself until you can get a better sense of their true motives. This includes, your real name, where you work or any intimate photos you may be tempted to share. Keep in mind romance scammers could potentially use this information against you in the case of identity theft or for extortion purposes. Remember real relationships often take time to develop and grow. If you limit your communication and stay on the dating app- you can gage whether the person is sincere in their intentions toward you and if they are worthy of your trust.

They are reluctant to engage in video communication.

Your new love interest may book video calls that somehow don’t pan out because of one excuse or another. Ask yourself, for you to be truly involved with someone, are you really that close if you have not been face to face with your love interest? Except for pictures, phone, and instant message?  If the answer is no, you can’t say for sure who you are speaking to, without really knowing if the person you are speaking to is a real person or not. You are opening yourself up to being involved in a romance scam.  

Protect yourself by limiting communication with this person until they have set up a video chat with you. One where the image you are seeing on the other side of the camera is a clear and provides a sharp image of who you are dealing with. Consider any person not willing to share their real image with you to not be worth your time. Do not give them any access to your heart. It may be prudent to do an image search on google of the pictures they have sent you. See if the image is listed under a different name or if the image is associated with a romance scam.

They often say they are working abroad, professionally but may need to ask for financial help.

If someone you met online who you have never seen in person or on a video chat asks you for money? Stop contact with this person immediately and report them to the dating site. Chances are this is not the first time or the last they have tried to scam people on the dating site. People looking for love and trying to turn a page on a past relationship that did not work out.

Protect your heart from romance scams by closely observing your new partners patterns and habits.

If they are asking you to help them financially early in the getting to know you process, and you have not yet even laid eyes on them who are you giving your money to? Keep in mind a common way romance scammers ask for money is using gift cards and reloadable debit cards, and money transfer services such as MoneyGram  that are often hard to trace, which makes it impossible for you to get your money back once it has been sent.   Protect your finances and heart by being mindful of romance scams as you move toward finding the love and the life you deserve with a new partner.