Be Aware of "Celeb Text" and "Online Love" to Not Fall Victim to Celebrity - Romance Scam

Modified on Wed, 14 Feb at 11:42 AM

Nowadays, scammers come in many forms including calling pretending to be someone you know, fake websites, fake LINE accounts, sending SMS to trick the victims into clicking fake links, and much more.

This article will explain everything you need to know about the "Romance Scam”, a common type of scam that many people have fallen victim to. Let's learn more about it and be cautious of this type of scam!

What is a Romance Scam?

Romance Scam is a scamming technique that includes the use of psychological techniques in talking to build a relationship with the targeted victim and deceiving through various methods, such as creating stories to make the victims feel sympathetic for them, making the victim trust or fall in love and giving them hope by saying that they will get married and start a family together, and so on until the victims agree to transfer money or digital assets to the scammer. Before you know it, there may have been already significant emotional or monetary damage. 

Another technique that is commonly used by scammers is using a photo of a celebrity like an actor, an investment advisor, or even Elon Musk! This scamming technique is known as a "Celebrity Scam".

Common channels used by scammers include dating sites, email, Facebook, and various messaging applications.

Characteristics of Romance Scam

1. Good-looking and dignified

Scammers usually use photos of good-looking, dignified, and trustworthy people or a ‘man in uniform’. Their online status is usually single, or married but now their spouse has passed away or they are already divorced.

2. Being famous or having a good profile

Sometimes, scammers may use a photo of someone famous and impersonate that person, or may create new identities to make their profiles look good to make the victims believe that they are a good person and can be trusted.

3. Giving hope or ‘selling dreams’

Scammers use a variety of scamming techniques, but most of the time it begins with a conversation about the scammer’s ‘life story’ about the job they have, often it is a government officer, a businessman, or even a millionaire. Their status can be single or married with a deceased partner and now they are looking for someone to start a new family together. They may also try to persuade the victim to start some investment or make them fall in love by using all kinds of sweet words.

In some cases, they may make up stories to make the targeted victims feel sorry for them and ask for financial support such as medical or transportation expenses. They may also create promotional campaigns to trick the victims into participating.

Another technique used by scammers is saying that they send some valuable present to the targeted victim but it is stuck at the Customs, so the victim needs to pay the fee to get it. Unfortunately, this technique has been a success in many cases.

4. Asking for personal information

Scammers will try to find ways to obtain personal information such as asking the targeted victim about their age, lifestyle, and occupation to identify their weaknesses or use the information for their other benefit.

5. Inviting to join a group or invest

Inviting to join a group or to invest in something is a common method used in Celebrity Scam. The targeted person will be tricked into joining a group that is managed by a group of scammers and then transferring the money to invest. In the beginning, the victim will still be able to withdraw so they put in more and more money. After some time, the withdrawal will be stuck and they will be told to transfer more money as a fee to get the money. Before they know it, a lot of damage has been done.

Target Groups of Romance Scam

Anyone can become a victim of scammers if they are not careful and vigilant. However, there are specific groups of people who are more vulnerable to a romance scam and usually targeted by scammers. These groups may include:

  • Single people

  • Widowers

  • Elders who want to find true love

  • Divorcees

  • Senior people

People in the mentioned groups tend to have plenty of alone time so they may feel lonely and want to find someone to talk to. Some people are just careless when publicly sharing their photos or personal information online, making it easy for everyone to access their information.

What should I do to not fall victim?

1. Check the information of anyone who contacts you to see if they really exist. If you are unsure, you can use additional search tools such as image searching via Google Images.

2. Scammers' accounts typically have less content and fewer friends or are recently created.

3. Scammers usually say nice things or try to convince you to do something, and their stories usually sound too good to be true.

4. Remember that your decision affects your assets. Do not believe anyone so easily and transfer your money or share your personal information with anyone if not necessary or you do not really know them.

5. Refrain from sharing any personal information or posting anything publicly. 

What if I have been scammed?

Collect as much proof of money transfers and screenshots of your conversations with the scammer from all channels as possible before printing everything and submitting it to a legal authority. You can file a report to the local, metropolitan, or provincial police stations, as well as the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD).


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