Brandon Police provide warning signs for Romance Scams


source: BPS News Release

Catfish are people who prey on lonely victims online, usually meeting through dating websites or social media platforms.  The catfish will go to extreme measures to keep up a false identity, and they spend hours of time conversing with the victim to gain their trust.

Catfish often display images of other people as a part of their façade.  They may also create a community of fake friends to legitimize their identity.

The Catfish will often come up with elaborate stories to get their victim to send large amounts of money without ever meeting in person.

A new trend that investigators are seeing in these types of romance scams, is that the Catfish will convince their victim to invest in cryptocurrency – or Bitcoin.

While it is not impossible for authorities to track these fraudsters, it is often very difficult, as they are skilled at leaving a complicated trail behind them in multiple jurisdictions.

If you know of a friend or loved one who may be involved in such a romance, where they have never met the other individual in person, yet are still sending them money, they may be a victim of a Catfish scam.  Please have a conversation with them about the signs you are seeing.

People who fall victim to a romance scam are often too embarrassed to report what they have been through to authorities.  Other victims might not even realize that they are being conned.  Victims of these types of frauds are from all demographics.


Things to watch out for:

They declare their love even though they’ve never met you

They want to move quickly to a private mode of communication

They always have an excuse why they can’t meet in person

They say they live close to you but are working overseas

They guilt you in to sending money by acting distressed or angry

They discourage their victim from speaking with family