Is It Love or a Lie? Watch out for Romance Scams!

February 13, 2024
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Attorney General of Oregon, Ellen RosenblumUnfortunately, Valentine’s Day is not all about romance and love for the nearly 70,000 Americans who, according to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), lost a combined $1.3 billion to so-called romance scams in 2022.

What is a “romance scam?” First and foremost — it’s a SCAM!!!

Romance scammers create fake profiles on dating websites and apps or contact you through popular social media like Instagram or Facebook. The scammer strikes up a relationship with you to build up trust, sometimes talking or messaging you several times a day. Then, they make up a story and ask for money. It’s ALL about getting you to fall for their story and give them your hard-earned money!

Don’t fall for it. It has nothing to do with real romance!

That’s exactly what happened to a woman in Springfield last year. When the conversation first started on Facebook Messenger, she thought she was speaking with a soldier serving overseas in Iraq. The “solider” told her he did not have any access to his money while he was serving overseas so she began mailing him gift cards. She also gave him all her personal and financial information, including her Social Security Number. Over time he stole her identity and nearly all the funds in her bank account.

So how can you know if the person you’re falling for is a “romance” scammer?

Watch out for virtual love interests who:

  • Want to immediately move from a social media platform to personal email, texting, or Instant Messenger (also known as IM),
  • Claim love in a heartbeat,
  • Claim to be from the U.S., but is traveling or working overseas, and
  • Plan to visit but is prevented by a traumatic event or business deal gone wrong.

Look out for these popular lies:

  • “Someone close to me is sick, hurt, or in jail.”
  • “I can teach you how to invest.”
  • “I’m in the military far away.”
  • “I need help with an important delivery.”
  • “We’ve never met, but let’s talk about marriage.”
  • “I’ve come into some money or gold.”
  • “I’m on an oil rig or ship.”

“If you suspect someone is a scammer, stop communicating with them immediately,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. “Tell the social media platform right away, and then tell us by filing a complaint online at”

“Most importantly, talk about what you know with your friends and family. Romance scams can be particularly complicated because once they start, it can feel embarrassing to talk about them. But by talking about it, you could help save your friends and family from financial losses – and heartache,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.

If you need help letting a social media platform know about a romance scam, please visit the social media platform’s help center, call the Oregon Attorney General’s Consumer Complaint Hotline at 1-877-877-9392, or visit the Oregon Department of Justice’s website at