Romance scams are on the rise. According to the FTC, a record-breaking $547 million was reported in losses to a romance scam in 2021. That is up 80% from what was reported in 2020. Protect your heart and your bank account. Here are 12 red flags to look for to spot a romance scam.

  1. Your new "special someone" requests that you communicate by email or messaging service after initial contact on a legitimate dating site,
  2. They avoid any face-to-face communication with you,
  3. They start calling you their "boyfriend" or girlfriend" without ever meeting you,
  4. Make claims to be from the US but are living, working, or traveling abroad,
  5. They claim your relationship is "fate,"
  6. The photos that they send of themselves could be a model,
  7. They ask for gift cards, reloadable cards, and wire transfers for any reason before you have met in person,
  8. They ask for financial support to pay for a plane ticket or travel expenses, medical expenses, customs fees to retrieve something, pay off debt, or travel documents,
  9. They make plans to meet you but back out each time,
  10. They use odd grammar or spelling,
  11. Asks for personal information, such as credit union account information, social security number, home address, or passwords,
  12. They are drastically younger than you.

Though not all of these are exclusively red flags, they should trigger your need to be cautious. If you or someone you know has been a romance scam victim, report it to the FBI at 1.800.CALL.FBI (1.800.225.5324) or online at the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (

Can you identify a romance scam? Quiz yourself with our Romance Scam Quiz.

*For educational purposes only. This material is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.