Beware of romance scams! Recognize the 5 red flags

Read Original Version (CLB5+) You are reading the Simple Version (CLB3-4)

Skip to:

Did you know that in 2021, people lost a lot of money because of romance scams? This was the second highest amount of money lost to fraud.

Yes, this type of scam is becoming more common. The people who do it are very smart. They use sophisticated methods to make it look like they are real. They can keep up the scam for a long period of time.

Law enforcement experts have discovered that the most dangerous type of this scam is done by organized crime.

People might think that only people who are not smart can be tricked by this scam. But, anyone can be tricked if the conditions are right. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.

The people who are most likely to be victims of this crime are women. They usually have a good education and are between the ages of 40 and 60.

Unfortunately, there are some scams that even young people can fall for. One of these is called the “Sugar Daddy” scam.

What is a romance scam?

A romance scam is when someone uses a fake identity to trick someone else into a romantic relationship. They may use this relationship to get money or other things from the other person.

A romance scam is when someone lies to another person. They pretend to have romantic feelings for them. This is done to gain the other person’s trust and to get money from them.

This type of scam can happen in person or online. Recently, online romance scams have become more popular. This is because of social media and online dating apps. Scammers can hide their identity with fake profiles and online messaging. They also use tools like cash apps, crypto currency, and gift cards. These are hard to trace.

Romance scam infographics

How can you tell if you’re in one?

Be aware of these signs:

  1. The relationship moves quickly

    The scammer might say they are in love with you after only a few days of talking. They will say that you two have a strong connection and that you are their soul mate.

  2. Asking for money

    This is a sure sign that you are being scammed. It might start with a small amount. The scammer will make it hard to refuse. They might say that they (or a loved one) had an accident, got sick, or something else that needs money urgently. They might also ask for money to come and see you in person. They will guilt you into sending money by saying that they are doing it for you.

  3. Love bombing

    This is a tactic used by scammers. They will send you a lot of text messages or calls every day. They might also send you flowers or gifts. This is done to make you trust them, so it is easier for them to trick you.

  4. Sob stories

    This is when the scammer tries to get your sympathy. They will tell you a sad story. It could be about their family, getting robbed, or losing their job. The goal is to make it easier to convince you to send money.

  5. Mirroring

    The scammer will agree with everything you say. They might also share stories that are similar to yours. For example, they might say “I know what it’s like to be without a parent at a young age. I understand how it feels to want love.” This is a way of making you trust them.

How to keep yourself safe from romance scams

  1. Be careful with your information

    Don’t give away too much on social media. Scammers can use this information to deceive you. They often target people who are feeling sad or upset.

  2. Listen to your gut

    If something doesn’t feel right, or if you’ve seen any warning signs, stop. Ask a friend for their opinion.

  3. Check them out

    Do some research on the person. Use Google or a reverse image search to check their profile picture. Read about the Military romance scam to learn how scammers use photos of real military personnel.

  4. Say no to money requests

    If someone asks you for money, it’s okay to say no. This can help you figure out if they are being honest or not.

  5. Stay informed

    To stay safe, it’s important to know about the latest scams. You can read about them from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. You can also download the Little Black Book of Scams from Competition Bureau Canada. Knowing about scams can help you avoid becoming a victim.

Sources: Just the facts: Romance scams, Paul Northcott, RCMP; and Romance scams, Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Accessed November 29, 2022.

Back to top

We'd love to hear from you!

Please login to tell us what you think.

Related Learning Activities

Digital Skills at Work- Week 3

Article thumbnail fallback

Course Description Digital Skills at Work (DSW) is a four-week course focusing on essential digital skills required to succeed in one’s career…. Read more »

Week 1 – Digital Citizenship

Laptop on desk for distance learning from home

Week 1 focuses on the key concepts of the digital world. Think about your daily life and the technology you… Read more »

WorkCom_Week 4

A woman giving a presentation at work

This is our last week of Workplace Communications. This time you are in the driver’s seat. We look forward to your presentation… Read more »

WorkCom_Week 3

A woman giving a presentation at work

We have now reached week 3 of Workplace Communications! This week, we are engaging in a number of activities that allow… Read more »

Back to top

CC BY-NC-SAText of this page is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA, unless otherwise marked. Please attribute to English Online Inc. and link back to this page where possible. For images and videos, check the source for licensing information.