Romance scams typically arise through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to try and lure their victims. Sometimes, they make first contact via the phone to establish a "real" relationship. These scams are also known as “catfishing.”
How it works
Scammers typically create fake online profiles that grab the victim's attention. They may use a fictional name or assume the identities of generally trusted people such as military personnel, law enforcement, and government agency workers. They will use fake or stolen images to grab someone's attention. They do everything possible to make you believe they are real and that they truly care about you.
These scammers will quickly profess strong feelings for you. They will make you believe their feelings are genuine and that they would do anything for you. They often want to move the communication to a more private forum, such as text message, direct e-mail, and phone—anything but meeting you in person.
Once they have gained your trust and your defenses are down, scammers will ask you for money. They will ask you to send money via wire transfer as a way to quickly secure the funds.
At this point, you are emotionally invested in this person and feel compelled to help. However, you likely have never met them in person. You don’t know if this person truly exists, but you want to believe they are real. The investment can cause you to make a decision based upon emotion including sending large sums of money to a person you only know by way of the Internet.
Don’t Do it!
You should know, and have met in person, anyone you send money to and be 100% comfortable with the reason for sending the money. It is very possible the person you are involved with is a scammer that wants to separate you from your hard-earned money.