Relationship and Empathy Scams
Scammers use emotional triggers, like love, compassion, and trust to lower a victim’s defenses and entice them to provide money or bank account information. Victims are often surprised to learn they are involved in a scam because of their emotional involvement.
Below are some common scams:
Online Dating Scams
Online Dating Scams
“Romeo” scammers go to great lengths to build a trusting relationship with their victim by posting fake profiles on legitimate dating service sites or chat rooms. They spend months charming their “soul mate” by sending small gifts, professing their love, and building anticipation for a personal meeting. Ultimately, Romeo requests money, or assistance with a bank transaction. In one scenario, Romeo is stationed overseas and needs help cashing his U.S. paycheck. In another scenario, he needs airfare to visit the victim. After the money is wired, the victim never hears from Romeo again.
There is probably no easier way to charm someone out of their money than to appeal to their sense of charity. Fraudulent charities develop overnight following a natural disaster or other tragedy. Fraudsters use a variety of methods to collect donations for their fictitious charity – email, telemarketing, door-to-door, street corners, malls, etc. It can be difficult to discern a legitimate charity from a fictitious one, so here are some pointers:
- Proactively give. Rather than respond to unsolicited appeals for donations, which may be fraudulent, identify the causes most important to you, and find a reputable charity to support.
- Write a check. Instead of dropping cash in a homemade canister or handing money to a solicitor, write a check to the charity of your choice. This ensures your money is supporting the charity, rather than the solicitor, and provides tax deduction documentation.
- Check it out. The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance provides information on individual charities. Visit bbb.org/us/charity.