Cover Story

Don’t Fall for Romance Scams

With online dating and social media, it’s easier than ever to meet new people and find that special someone. Unfortunately, scammers can bring heartache to those looking for love. In these romance scams, con artists create compelling backstories — and phony identities — to trick you into falling for someone who doesn’t even exist.

Targets of romance schemes are usually older Americans, but veterans, active military members, or anyone looking for a new friendship or romance can be fooled. Frequently, scammers will use fake profiles or stolen identities (Facebook or LinkedIn accounts) to market themselves as a potential love interest.

Beware of new or romantic relationships found through:

n Dating sites or apps.

n Social media.

n Online groups.

n Anywhere the meeting is not face-to-face.

Watch out for these “red flags” when you receive communications from someone you don’t know:

n Urgent requests for money for supplies, travel, medical needs, or an emergency.

n Requests to receive or forward money or packages on someone’s behalf.

n Facts that don’t match, like their name and the name in their email address.

n Strict refusal to meet in person.

If you suspect that the person you are communicating with is a scammer:

n Do not send money to someone you just met.

n Do not act impulsively. Stop, take your time, and think before acting.

n Discuss the situation with friends or family.

n Concerned family or friends should be on the lookout for suspicious or unusual receipts (i.e., money orders, gift cards, or overnight mailing receipts).

For more information about romance scams, visit

If you need to report a romance scam or any other crime involving the mail, visit or call 877-876-2455.

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