No Con, Just Love – The 2024 Romance Mantra

January 9, 2024

As your inbox gets showered with New Year's cheer, keep an eye out for potential scammers disguised as friends or maybe even your next great love story. Here's a guide on what to look out for:

Love at First Type: Beware the Premature Romantics

Be wary of charming individuals claiming to be heroes stationed in distant lands like Afghanistan, Ukraine, or South Sudan. The fake personas of Marines, soldiers, admirals, generals, diplomats, and surgeons may engage in daily conversations, expressing love and even proposing marriage before you've had a chance to meet in person. Don't be lured in by these premature declarations.

Favors, Favors Everywhere: The Suspicious Kind

Scammers often present elaborate scenarios, asking for your assistance in accepting packages of cash, gems, or gold. The catch? You'll need to foot the bill for a fake "shipping fee" that lines their pockets. Alternatively, they might request new phones, claim to need financial help for ailing relatives, or ask for gift cards under the guise of caring for nonexistent kids back home. Once you agree to one favor, be prepared for a cascade of increasingly expensive requests.

Show Me the Money (Or Not): The Financial Talk

The telltale sign of a scam is when your online connection starts weaving tales of delayed visits due to financial setbacks. Whether it's a lost airline ticket, visa issues, a sudden medical emergency, or a mysterious blocked account, scammers always lead the conversation toward asking for money. If your virtual love interest requests financial aid, it's time to hit the brakes.

Money Talks, But Not Like This: Red Flags Galore

Anyone asking for your account numbers, urging you to send gift cards or wire transfers, or suggesting payment through apps or cryptocurrency is likely a scammer. Genuine connections don't involve monetary transactions as a prerequisite for friendship or love.

Don't Fall Victim — Take Action!

If you suspect someone is attempting to scam you, immediately sever contact. Notify the relevant online platform or social media app, and report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at or report the scam at ScamAdviser.

Keep it witty, stay sharp, and don't let scammers steal the spotlight in your love story.

This article has been published in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission.

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