In many cases, the victims of romance scams report losing thousands of dollars through dating apps and social media. They often begin by sending a friend request or message that’s unrelated to their relationship. The scammers always ask for money from their victims. They may tell them that it’s for a phone card or medical emergency. Or they may even use COVID-19 or other codes to create the illusion of urgency. However, the worst part is that they never return their money.

The most common scam involves an advance-fee scam. A scammer might contact a young woman and insist on marriage in order to inherit millions of dollars in gold. The victim is unable to remove the gold from her country due to the duties and marriage taxes. Therefore, the young woman cannot inherit the fortune until she gets married. A scammer’s persistence and slick presentation will often lead the victim to believe that the person is genuine.

The emotional and financial losses of romance scams can be devastating. Do not feel guilty. It is vital that you find a support group for people who have been victimized. Online dating platforms have reporting tools to help victims report suspicious profiles. This way, other people can be protected too. The U.S. Army has a fact sheet about how to spot a scammer. The goal is to provide the victims with the resources and information they need to fight the fraud and move forward with their lives.