FBI Albany
Public Affairs Specialist Sarah Ruane
(518) 431-7250
February 10, 2023

FBI Albany Warns of Romance Scams Ahead of Valentine’s Day

ALBANY—This Valentine’s Day, the FBI’s Albany Field Office is sharing information to help educate the public about romance scams, so you can protect your heart—and your wallet—from scammers.

In romance scams (also called confidence fraud), scammers target and take advantage of people looking for companionship or romantic partners and con them out of their money. These criminals actively search dating websites, apps, chat rooms, and social networking sites in their efforts to quickly build a relationship with the sole goal of accessing financial assets or personally identifying information

Romance scams are consistently among the highest amounts of financial losses each year when compared to other Internet-related crimes. The FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3) reported *19,050 victims lost a staggering *$739,030,292 to romance scams in 2022.

Anyone can fall victim to these scams. If you develop a relationship with someone online, be aware of these red flags and follow these tips to protect yourself.

Common Red Flags:

  • The individual presses you to leave the dating website where you met to communicate solely through email or instant messaging.
  • The individual sends you a photo that looks like a glamour shot out of a magazine.
  • The individual professes love quickly.
  • The individual claims to be working and living far away, whether that’s on the other side of the country or overseas.
  • The individual makes plans to visit you, but always cancels because of some emergency.

Tips to Protect Yourself:

  • Be careful what you post and make public online.
  • If you try online dating, use only dating sites with well-known reputations. Search people’s photos and profiles online to see if anyone has used the names, images, or information elsewhere.
  • Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met in person.
  • Take things slow and ask lots of questions.

If you suspect your online relationship is a scam, stop communicating with the individual immediately. Call 1-800-CALL-FBI to file a report or visit ic3.gov.

*Preliminary 2022 numbers. The 2022 IC3 report is expected later this spring. It’s important to note these are just victims who choose to report, so the losses are likely higher.

Additional Resources:

2021 IC3 Annual Report (2022 to be released this spring):
*See page 12 for a breakdown of romance scams

“Inside the FBI” Podcast:

Former Romance Scammer Shares Their Story:

FBI Resources: