How to avoid getting 'catfished' by romantic scammers around Valentines Day

Nearly 1,800 Texans lost an average of $37,000 to romantic scammers in 2022.

click to enlarge The biggest red flag that your online partner might be a con artist is if they keep asking you for money, according to the report. - Shutterstock
The biggest red flag that your online partner might be a con artist is if they keep asking you for money, according to the report.
Valentine's Day can be a challenging time for single folks, but that doesn't mean they should settle for the first person who slides into their DMs. Especially when that person could be a scammer.

Last year, U.S. residents lost $547 million to online romance scams, according to data from Social Catfish, an online company that verifies online identities. Texas ranked as the state third-hardest hit by so-called "romance scams." Nearly 1,800 Texans lost an average of $37,000 to such scammers in 2022.

To avoid falling victim, Social Catfish recommends keeping an eye out for three warning signs.

It seems too good to be true

If a good-looking billionaire starts sending DMs, it's probably a scam. Online crooks often steal photos of attractive and successful-looking people and create fake accounts to lure in potential victims. It's always a good idea to treat these potential romantic partners with a healthy dose of skepticism, Social Catfish experts said.

They fall in love without ever meeting you

Regardless of how charming a person can be over email, it's unlikely that someone will fall in love without ever being around you in person. What's more, if your online catch constantly makes excuses about why they can't meet for a date or chat over Zoom, there's a good chance they're a scammer.

They ask for money

According to Social Catfish, the biggest red flag that your virtual significant other isn't real is if they ask for financial assistance. The most common excuses scammers use is that they need money to come to visit, that they're having bank account issues and that they've incurred sudden medical expenses.

"Never give money to anyone you meet online," Social Catfish experts said.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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