Attorney General Ford Advises Nevadans to Protect Themselves from Romance Scams this Valentine’s Day Season

February 14, 2022

Carson City, NV – Attorney General Aaron D. Ford advises Nevadans to be on alert for internet-based scams that prey upon individuals seeking companionship or romantic relationships, commonly known as “romance scams.” In a romance scam, the perpetrator gains the target’s trust by creating a relationship with them – whether it be as a friend or as a romantic partner. The scammer uses various mediums to initiate contact, including social media platforms, dating apps, other websites and email.  

“Romance scams account for higher financial losses than any other internet-based scam,” said AG Ford. “During this Valentine’s Day season, I urge Nevadans to protect their hearts and their banks from these scammers.”

The fraudster in a romance scam will patiently build the relationship over weeks or even months before striking. After gaining the target’s trust and affection, the scammer uses the relationship to attempt to acquire money and/or other personal information from the victim. This is usually done by the scammer creating some sort of emergency situation and urgently requesting the victim to send money or gift cards, often utilizing guilt or shame as a tactic. This request for money will often start out in small amounts and increase once the scammer knows the victim has been hooked.

Individuals looking for love or companionship are the ideal victims for these perpetrators. People ages 65+ and people who have recently been divorced or widowed are often targets for romance scams. 

Education about scams is often the best defense to being scammed. As part of the Attorney General’s consumer education and outreach, AG Ford will participate in a tele-town hall event with AARP of Nevada at on February 23 at 9:00 a.m. The discussion will focus on romance scams, and participants will have the opportunity to call in and ask questions related to this scam as well as gain valuable information about spotting and preventing these scammers.

While this tele-town hall is only open to Nevada AARP members, learning about this type of scam and ways to protect yourself is important for all Nevadans. Audio of the event will be available for AARP members after the tele-town hall has concluded. 

The Office of the Nevada Attorney General recommends the following tips to protect yourself from romance scams:

  • Do not give money, credit card access or other personal information or documents to people you meet online;
  • Avoid any situation where a person asks for an up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, pre-paid card or cryptocurrency;
  • Always consider the possibility that a person might be trying to scam you. Try to remove emotion from your decision-making process when communicating to anyone you meet online;
  • Speak to family members or someone you trust before taking any drastic measures in an online 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 that could be used as blackmail;
  • Be wary if the individual you met online attempts to isolate you from friends and family;
  • Be skeptical if the person you met online promises to meet in person but has excuse after excuse for why he or she cannot meet you; and
  • Be careful about how much information you disclose on social media and dating apps – these scammers often research their victims and use the information they find online to ascertain your vulnerabilities and lure you into an unwanted relationship.

If you have been a victim of a romance scam, you may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of the Nevada Attorney General. Include as much information as possible with your complaint, including any information you have about the person that contacted you such as social media accounts, names and phone numbers.