Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.
The criminals who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do and will seem genuine, caring, and believable. Con artists are present on most dating and social media sites.
The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear himself to the victim, and gain trust. Scammers may propose marriage and make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen. Eventually, they will ask for money.
Scam artists often say they are in the building and construction industry and are engaged in projects outside the U.S. That makes it easier to avoid meeting in person—and more plausible when they ask for money for a medical emergency or unexpected legal fee.
If someone you meet online needs your bank account information to deposit money, they are most likely using your account to carry out other theft and fraud schemes.
Public Service Announcements from IC3
12.03.2021 Money Mules: A Financial Crisis
Money mules help criminals launder proceeds from their illegal activities.
09.16.2021 Scammers Defraud Victims of Millions of Dollars in New Trend in Romance Scams
The FBI warns of a rising trend of scammers persuading romance scam victims to send money to allegedly invest or trade cryptocurrency.
08.05.2019 Cyber Actors Use Online Dating Sites to Conduct Confidence/Romance Fraud and Recruit Money Mules
In 2018, confidence/romance fraud was the seventh most commonly reported scam to the IC3 based on the number of complaints received, and the second costliest scam in terms of victim loss.
Related FBI News and Multimedia
On this episode of Inside the FBI, get the latest romance-scam statistics from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and learn how to protect your heart—and wallet—from these schemes.
FBI Salt Lake City Warns of Romance Scams
Special Agent Jule Albretsen shares tips on how to avoid romance scams when dating online.
In August of 2017, "Darlene" met "Giovanni" who scammed her out of almost $530,000.
A special agent in the FBI's Phoenix Field Office describes the warning signs of romance scams.
Glenda, an 81-year-old victim of a romance scam, describes how she became a money mule and is now paying the price. She pleaded guilty on November 2, 2021 for two federal crimes.
The FBI's Washington Field Office issued a warning about romance scams.
Christine Beining, a special agent in the FBI's Houston Division, describes how scam artists use Internet sites to prey on lonely individuals to get to their money.
The victim of a romance scam describes how she was duped out of $2 million by an online suitor she has never met.
A woman who lost $2 million to a con artist who she fell in love with online shares her story in the hopes that others might avoid falling victim to this type of crime.
The FBI says an increasing number of Americans are becoming victims of romance scams originating from West Africa.
An increasing number of Americans are becoming victims of romance scams originating from West Africa.
Romance scams, also known as confidence scams, result in the highest amount of financial losses when compared to other Internet-facilitated crimes.