The NASAA’s Input on Cryptocurrency and Romance Scams
Last Friday, the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation issued a warning regarding romance scams and cryptocurrency. The warning is the same as the one issued by the North American Securities Administrators Association this month.
What Does the NASAA Have to Say About Scams?
The DFPI describes romance scams as someone developing a fake online profile on a dating app, a dating website, and loads of other social media sites, including Facebook and Instagram.
The scammers then reach out to people on these apps and try to develop loving relationships. The scammer may say that he lives in another country but is really interested in meeting and wants to take their relationship to the next level. This is when the scammer suggests that you move your relationship to another private channel such as email or another texting app. Now, when the time is right, the scammer asks you to send money via debit cards, cryptocurrency, or gift cards.
When your potential “date” has taken the conversation to another application, he then lures the person into installing a fake app or encrypted apps on their phones that leave them open to stealing. Scammers take very large steps to create these fake apps that look exactly like the real ones. Once the victim agrees to send money to the scammer, they download the fake cryptocurrency trading app. The entire thing goes on until the person wants to break up or stop sending money and contact the app in order to get their money out.
This is when the person finds out that they were locked out of their account, and when they contact the customer support service, it is actually the scammer! In many cases, the scammer might ask the victim to pay an exit fee in order to get the money out. This is again when the victim gets scammed.
How to Protect Yourself from Romance Scams
There is a rise in romance scams, and people from all over the world are now becoming aware of them. Have a look down below at some of the ways you can keep yourself safe from a romance scam:
- Make sure not to send any money to someone you meet on a dating app. Remember, scammers use a lot of tactics to trick you into sending them money. This is why you need to be careful with this. As mentioned above, they might ask you to download a crypto app, so make sure you never do that. The scammers might also say that they want to meet you and need money for the ticket. This is when they’ll ask you to send the money through crypto, a wire transfer that cannot be tracked. Moreover, the scammer might even say that his/her parents are unwell and he doesn’t have the money for the treatment. This is when he is going to ask you for a loan by making you emotional and telling you how he can only trust you. All in all, never send money, gift cards, and cryptocurrency to anyone you have not interacted with in person and do not know that well.
- Another thing you need to focus on is never to reveal your personal or financial information online. This includes social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, dating apps, and other profiles. Anyone can use this information for all the wrong reasons! This information includes your phone numbers, address, and financial details such as bank account number, credit card number, etc. Leave people curious and let them think whatever they want to. It is not your responsibility to let everyone know everything about you. Moreover, even once you have started talking to someone online, do not tell them all about you right away; give it time.
- Make sure to verify whether a business that is recommended to you is legit or not. Businesses that offer money transmission or investment advisory services are required to be registered with a federal regulator. This can be the US Securities Exchange Commission or the Department of Financial Institutions. Scammers will recommend you a business in most cases. They might ask you to invest your money in a specific company that is completely fake, and they are the ones behind it and will say that you will receive amazing profits in just a couple of days. Now once you make the payment, you can say goodbye to your money!
- Always look out for the red flags of anyone you meet online. Does the person seem perfect? Is he the kind of partner one wants? You cannot really say that about someone in just a couple of days. The scammer will also try to move the relationship a bit too quickly. You also need to keep that in mind. The scammer will also try to isolate you from your family and will promise to meet you in person but might always come up with an excuse such as an emergency. You must keep all of this in mind when talking to someone online.
- You should keep yourself updated regarding the information about the recent scams. Read articles regarding the kind of scams that happen, how to keep yourself safe from them, different cases, etc.
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What to Do if You Get Scammed?
If you are among the unfortunate ones who got scammed, do not worry as life teaches you many lessons. Take that as a lesson and do not repeat the same mistakes again.
However, the first thing you need to do is to stop talking to the scammer right away. Next, you need to check your financial accounts and see whether there were any unauthorized charges or not. If you see there is something wrong, you need to contact your bank right away and block all your transactions. You should also ask your bank to block your cards and all your transactions to keep your money protected.
Report the incident to the local enforcement and get help in finding your scammer and recovering your money. It might be a long shot, but you can recover your money if you report the scam right away instead of trying to figure everything out on your own. Remember to be patient and don’t lose your calm during the time and collect all the information you can.
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