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    Have you experienced “romance fraud”?

    The dating scene has undergone a stylish and fashion-forward transformation, with its landscape continually shifting and evolving. From dating app culture gaining momentum to COVID-19’s impact on our in-person and virtual connections, we’re seeing a whole new world of dating! However, along with these exciting changes, we must also learn to navigate new obstacles.
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    Fashion-forward individuals thriving in the digital realm are well-aware of the odious trend that is “catfishing”, whereby one assumes a fictitious identity on various online platforms. However, a novel deceitful tactic known as “romance fraud” is now permeating the scene, and its prevalence is gaining alarming traction.
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    Romance fraud, similar to catfishing, involves deception in online relationships. However, it takes an alarming turn as it involves financial exploitation. Online scammers can take on various identities, be it their true selves or a fake persona, to establish connections with individuals and deceive them into yielding money.
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    You may have seen firsthand the devastating effects of romance scams on unsuspecting victims. In one instance, your uncle, who had recently joined some dating sites following his divorce, fell prey to a charming woman who claimed to be in desperate need of money for basic necessities. Despite never having met in person, she managed to convince him to send her hundreds of dollars for groceries, gas, and apparel. As time went on, it became clear that this person had no intention of meeting him and was, in fact, a young man living far away. Your uncle’s daughter was able to uncover the truth and put an end to this heartbreak.
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    Perhaps your stylish friend was navigating the tricky waters of post-breakup dating, when she met a guy who caught her eye. However, despite their flirty banter, he always seemed to avoid speaking on the phone or via video call. Then, after he confided in her about his financial struggles, she generously Venmoed him some money to help out. Shockingly, after some high-fashion detective work, you and your group of chic pals uncovered that this smooth-talking scammer was actually a woman you all went to college with!
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    Have you ever fallen victim to an online dating scam? You eagerly waited for your amusement park date after making plans and trusting them to purchase tickets. They claimed to have bought both, asking you to Venmo them for yours. As you drove there, excitement building, you attempted to text them – only to find your message wouldn’t go through. Their phone number was unreachable. Panic set in as you tried to find the chat on the dating app, only to find it had disappeared. They had fooled you, blocked all communication and left you stranded after taking your money.
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