Lonely Heart Scams
Protecting our members from fraud is a priority for us at Hoosier Hills Credit Union. Among the most insidious types of fraud we see are Lonely Heart, or Romance Scams, because they combine traditional theft with the emotional betrayal of someone who has built a relationship for the sole purpose of profiting from it.
According to the FTC, losses due to these types of scams rose by more than 300% between 2015 and 2018, from $33 million to $143 million.
Your Credit Union can help you spot red flags and patterns that we’ve seen in other situations. Some of these red flags include:
- The “love interest” will not meet you in person. They may make plans, but circumstances will always prevent your meeting.
- Many times the reason they cannot meet is that they live, or are currently working, in a foreign country.
- They may initially meet you on a popular social or dating platform, but they will usually show an eagerness to take conversations offline.
- They will ask for money. Perhaps they will begin in small increments, but requests will continue or increase.
- They may actually give you money in the form of a wire or check. They then ask you to send all or part of those funds elsewhere for one reason or another. When the check or wire is recalled by the issuing institution as fraudulent, you are now liable for the amount that has been charged back to your account, but is no longer there.
- Beware of financial arrangements in which you are asked to convert dollars into gift cards or other untraceable means.
- If, while making a financial arrangement, a person warns you that the policies of your financial institution may be too strict, it is a red flag. One way fraudsters are successful is to turn their victims against the kinds of safeguards financial institutions have in place for their own protection.
- The scammer may also rush their victims, or encourage them to keep transactions secret.
As your financial partner, we have the experience to help you recognize patterns that may be new to you. Our priority is your financial security. Call us at 800.865.2612 or come to your nearest Service Center. We’ll be happy to help.
You can also report these and other scams to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.