AARP Eye Center
It's easy to blame the victim. But romance scams are big business, and its perpetrators have the playbook down pat. If you are a target, you will become their full-time job, 24/7 - until payday.
They start by creating fake profiles on legitimate dating services. Then, once they make contact with their target, they immediately move the relationship off the site. Romance scammers take the long view building trust over months through an overwhelming flood of personal texts, emails, and phone calls, before launching the money grab.
A former romance scammer explained the playbook to AARP The Magazine: “You want them thinking, 'My dreams are your dreams, my goals are your goals, and my financial interests are your financial interests.’ You can't ask for money until you have achieved this."
With romances scams robbing Americans of $81 million per year, the AARP Fraud Watch Network is calling on the dating industry to institute new safeguards to better protect their users. After consulting with the Federal Trade Commission, other law enforcement and romance scam experts, we developed a petition urging dating sites to take some commonsense steps to better protect their users:
- shut down accounts of those who pay with a stolen credit card;
- use image searches to identify fake photos used in profiles appearing across various dating websites;
- issue early warnings to members who have been in contact with someone using a fake profile;
- educate members with tips on how to spot and avoid romance scammers; and
- provide resources and contact information for those who've been victimized.
Petitions will be delivered to top dating sites, including Match.com, eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk, OK Cupid, SeniorPeopleMeet and Our Time.
To sign the petition and help crack down on heartless scammers, visit www.aarp.org/RomanceScams . You’ll also find tips on how to spot and avoid romance scammers.