First Bank Sheds Light on Online Dating Scams — and How To Turn Them Down


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Image via First Bank.
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Dating scammers try to steal your heart … and your money.

The rise of online dating sites and apps has made looking for love more convenient. Every day, millions of Americans turn to these resources to meet someone new. Sometimes, it’s a love match. Other times, it’s a scam.

These con artists are experts at what they do and will seem genuine, caring, and believable. In reality, they’re only looking to take your money and run.

To combat the risk of falling for dating scams, First Bank has compiled some red flags to watch out for and ways to stay safe.

Be on the Watch for Potential Red Flags

  • They claim their job keeps them out of the country: Many romance scammers have assumed identities like international physicians or service members deployed overseas.
  • Their profile isn’t consistent with what they’ve told you.
  • Their profile seems too good to be true.
  • Their profile only has a few photos.
  • They don’t have social media accounts linked to their dating site accounts.
  • They only call you by pet names, not your real name, and their messages are vague and impersonal: Scammers often use automated messages, which usually sound robotic.
  • They appear to fall in love right away.
  • They quickly try to move your conversation away from the site you met on and onto text messages or emails: They do this in case the website becomes aware of their scam and shuts them down.
  • They repeatedly make plans to meet you in person and then cancel.
  • They ask you for money or sensitive information, like your Social Security number or banking information, before you can meet face to face.

Protect Yourself with These Tips

  • Don’t send money to anyone you’ve never met in person, and don’t share your banking information — no matter their story.
  • Do an online search for the job the person claims to have to see if other people have heard similar stories: For example, search “oil rig scammer” or “U.S. Army scammer.”
  • Don’t accept money from strangers: They may be trying to pass fake checks or launder money through your account.
  • Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture: If it turns out to be a stock photo or belongs to someone else, you can be sure you’re being conned.
  • Don’t send compromising photos of yourself that could be used for extortion.
  • Don’t keep the relationship secret — tell someone you trust: It’s easy to miss the signs of a scam, and your friends or family can give you a reality check.

If you suspect you are being scammed, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

The next time you’re on a dating site, remember these tips, and kiss scammers goodbye!

Learn more about protecting your accounts and how First Bank uses the most advanced security available for online banking, with all sensitive information being encrypted and online access requiring a Personal Identification Number and password known only to you.

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