A romance or impersonation scam is where a scammer pretends to be a well known or trustworthy person in your life and tries to work an emotional angle to get you to send them cryptocurrency. This is a common scam and the impersonation can take many forms, both personal and impersonal.
The most common impersonations are of high-profile and famous people with a large social media presence. Generally, it will be someone well known, wealthy, and usually a bit eccentric. The scammer will make an account identical to that of the famous person and then post a link or a video asking you to send your cryptocurrency to a specific website where they will “double your funds with a giveaway”.
If someone wants to give you free money, what is stopping them from doing it? Nothing. There is no need to send someone money to get double or triple your money back. If a random postcard arrived saying “send me $1000 dollars and I’ll send you $2000 back” would you do it?
These are always fake and you should never engage with them.
Another common scenario is one where scammers pretend to be a distant relative or a lawyer claiming a relative of yours is in jail or legal trouble. In these cases, call your relative’s phone number and inquire as to the legitimacy of the call. If it’s a legal issue being presented to you, the fact that they are asking for payment in crypto should send up a huge red flag. Research the legal firm in question and verify their legitimacy by reading reviews and calling any phone numbers they have online. It is more than likely that it will be a scam.
Scammers will leverage the emotion of love to manipulate your feelings and force you to send them funds. These scammers are found on popular dating sites and apps and will never want to meet in person. They claim to be in the military, working overseas, performing distance work, or that they are just simply stuck in another place.
How to protect yourself
- Ask for a video call and see if the person is real or just a photo taken from another profile.
- Never give out financial details and be careful with any details you provide. Has anyone ever asked what your mother’s maiden name is or the street you grew up on during a date? No, but those are common security questions for a bank's website.
- If you notice a sense of urgency in their requests for details about you or a need for funds, this should be a red flag. It is advised you take your time to feel out this person’s intentions and whether they are legitimate or merely trying to scam you out of your crypto.
If you need to report an incident or you have fallen victim to this type of scam, reach out to our Live Chat support or submit a request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional resources for reporting and learning about fraud: