FBI Columbia field office warns of romance scams ahead of Valentine’s Day

(Courtesy: FBI Columbia)

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– The FBI field office in Columbia is warning people to be on the lookout for scammers taking advantage of those looking for love.
Investigators say romance scams happen when criminals deceive victims into believing they’re engaging in a trusting relationship, then use that relationship to convince them to send money, share financial information, or buy things.
The FBI reports in 2021 South Carolinians lost nearly seven million dollars to romance scams.

According to the FBI:

Common Romance Scam Red Flags:

  • The scammer makes promises to meet in person but gives excuses as to why they can’t.
  • The scammer will ask for money once they gain your trust. Typically, they explain they have an owed debt, need financial assistance, or they ask for travel funds.
  • The scammer will request money through methods that make it hard to be traced and hard to get back.
  • The scammer may ask to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate directly.

How to Protect Yourself:


  • Be careful what you post and make public online.
  • If you suspect a scam, stop communicating with the person immediately.
  • Conduct a reverse image search of the person’s photo(s). If it is associated with another name or profile, it is likely a scam.
  • Take things slow and ask a lot of questions.
  • Never send money to someone you have only communicated with online or by phone.


If you or someone you know is a victim of one of these scams, report it to the FBI https://www.ic3.gov/


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