Don’t Get Caught in A Bad Romance!

    JN Group

    Love is in the air but don’t let blind love turn you into a fool. If you’ve met someone on a dating app, website or social media, be cautious. This love could cost you more than what you’d spend on flowers, chocolates or even a weekend getaway at an all-inclusive hotel this Valentine’s Day.

    Your ‘online beau’ may not only want to steal your heart but also your money. Avoid becoming the victim of a of a romance scam.

    Romance scams are one type of Advance Fee Fraud (the lottery scam is the most popular type of Advance Fee Fraud) and criminals often conduct this crime through private communication channels. They create fake personas to develop romantic relationships with unsuspecting persons to swindle them. After gaining your trust, these scammers usually make up a story and ask for money, maybe for a plane ticket to visit you or for some emergency such as surgery for a relative.

    Don’t fall for the wrong one. Here are ways to avoid becoming a victim of romance scams.

    1. Never send money or gifts to someone you’ve only met online. Verify their identity through multiple means, including video calls and in-person meetings. Encourage your new lover to meet in person as soon as possible and meet in open spaces where others are around.
    2. Be cautious about sharing your information. Do not share your personal and financial information, including bank account details, with anyone and especially someone you haven’t met in person.
    3. Take it slowly. Be wary of individuals who rush into professing love, avoid answering personal questions, or have inconsistent stories. Scammers will adjust their story for each situation and often use emotional manipulation to gain sympathy. Don’t send money to anyone based on emotional appeals alone. All scammers want to get money quickly too and will give you options that make it hard for you to get your money back.
    4. Talk to someone about this new love interest. Seek advice from family and friends on your new relationship and take note if they show concern. Remember, scammers are skilled at manipulation, so always prioritize your safety and use your best judgement.
    1. If you suspect a romance scam, stop communicating with the person immediately.

    How to report a Romance Scam:

    If you sent money from your bank account to a suspected ‘romance scammer’, contact your bank immediately. Tell them you paid a scammer and ask them to recall the transaction.

    If you think it’s a scam, report it to the Police. Also notify the social networking site or app where you met the scammer.

    More about Advance Fee Fraud

    As its name suggests, this type of fraud concerns the payment of a ‘fee’ upfront or in advance of receiving some reward. However, that reward never materialises.

    In addition to Romance Scams, other types of Advance Fee Fraud are Investment Scams, Lottery Scams and Beneficiary Fund Scams. These scams happen across the world, with more victims being targeted through social media in the digital age.

    In Jamaica, for instance, several social media users have fallen victim to scammers who pretend to run a business, losing the money they upfronted to purchase cell phones, appliances, and furniture.

    Be skeptical of all business opportunities and requests for assistance.

    1. If the opportunity appears too good to be true, it probably is.
    2. Do your due diligence. If you have not met the person or company you will be doing business with, do your research. If things seem sketchy, it probably is.
    3. Be wary of businesses that provide no information on their operation, such as no address for a physical location or no direct telephone lines.
    4. Be suspicious of businesses that do not give you multiple payment options, including cash on delivery. Also look for inconsistencies with banking information and that of the business or person you are dealing with. If you are not comfortable with sending cash, stop immediately.
    5. Speak to others about any concern you may have and get their opinions. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
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