AG Ford, AARP to Host Romance and Companionship Scam Tele-Town Hall
February 14, 2019
Carson City, NV – Today, Attorney General Aaron D. Ford advised Nevadans to be wary of scams that prey upon individuals seeking companionship or romantic relationships. As part of his commitment to protecting Nevadans from scams, AG Ford will participate in a tele-town hall event with AARP of Nevada at 11 a.m. on February 15th. The discussion will focus on romance and companionship scams, and participants will have the opportunity to call in and ask questions related to this scam.
In a romance or companionship scam, an individual feigns intentions, sometimes romantic, toward another through websites, apps, email, social media platforms, and the like. Scammers intentionally seek out vulnerable men and women, sometimes posing as a potential romantic interest. After gaining the victim’s trust and affection, the scammer uses that goodwill to commit fraud by asking the victim for money, often claiming to be involved in a personal emergency. These scammers often prey on the elderly, and particularly those who have recently lost their spouse.
“Sophisticated scammers tug on the heart strings of emotionally vulnerable individuals to bait them into sending money or gifts,” said AG Ford. “According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, online romance and companionship scams account for higher financial losses than any other internet-based crime. On a day dedicated to celebrating love, I urge all Nevadans to be wary of those who look to capitalize on your affection.”
While this tele-town hall is only open to Nevada AARP members, the substance is important for all Nevadans. Audio will be available on AARP’s podcast after the event. The Office of the Nevada Attorney General recommends the following tips to protect yourself from romance scams:
- Refrain from sending money or property to someone you have not met in person. Never give credit card information or access to personal documents or accounts to someone you meet online;
- Avoid any situation where a person asks for an up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, pre-paid card or Bitcoin;
- Always consider the possibility that a person might be trying to scam you. Remove emotion from your decision-making process, and speak to family members or someone you trust before taking any drastic measures in the relationship;
- Use online search engines to research the person’s photo and profile. Sometimes scammers will reuse a fake photo or profile information from another online source;
- Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or Facebook to go “offline”;
- Be cautious about sharing intimate photos or giving information to the person that could be used as blackmail;
- Be wary if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family;
- Exercise caution if the individual promises to meet in person but then always seems to come up with an excuse for why he or she cannot meet you; and
- Be careful about how much information you disclose online–the scammer could use this information to ascertain your vulnerabilities and lure you into an unwanted relationship.
If you believe you have been victimized by a companionship or romance scam, you are encouraged to file a complaint with our office here.