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How To Avoid Crypto Romance Scam Heartbreak

The world of cryptocurrencies can be confusing and intimidating. So can the world of online dating!

Maybe that’s why the combination of the two has been creating more and more fraud victims in recent years.

According to the FBI, in 2022 alone, a total of 19,050 victims reported losing more than $730,000,000 to romance scammers. This kind of scam starts like an online relationship — usually over social media or a dating app. After making a connection, the scammer will ask for cash — then disappear after the money is transferred. Officials say victims sometimes hesitate to file fraud reports out of embarrassment or shame. (Source:

In recent years, however, romance scams have gotten even more complex thanks to the rise of cryptocurrencies.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), cryptocurrencies, sometimes shortened to crypto, is a type of digital currency that only exists electronically. Some people choose to use cryptocurrencies due to its anonymity; others hold it as an investment, hoping its value will go up.

But cryptocurrencies bring their own risks, separate and apart from any kind of scam. Crypto held in accounts is not insured by the U.S. Government, the way dollars deposited into FDIC insured banks like First International Bank & Trust are. That means if something happens to your cryptocurrency funds, such as a hack, the government has no obligation to step in and help you recover your money. (Source:

Nonetheless, cryptocurrencies are much more popular today than they were even a few years ago. So, it’s no wonder that fraudsters are using that growing popularity — and the confusion that many still feel about crypto — to complicate their romance scams.

The AARP says that after romance scammers have built up a connection with their target, often over the course of weeks or months, they will convince their victims to invest in cryptocurrency. They may share photos of luxury items and scenic locations to convince the victim to “invest.” If the victim agrees to pay, the scammer may even direct the victim to a fake website showing their “investment” paying off — before the criminal eventually ends contact and makes off with the money. (Source:

So how can you spot a scam as you’re looking for love? Here’s advice from the FTC:

  • Nobody legit will ever ask you to help—or insist that you invest—by sending cryptocurrency, giving the numbers on a gift card, or by wiring money. Anyone who does is a scammer.
  • If someone tells you to send money to receive a package, you can bet it’s a scam.
  • Talk to friends or family about a new love interest and pay attention if they’re concerned.
  • Try a reverse image search of profile pictures. If the details don’t match up, it’s a scam.

Visit the Education Center at for even more tips on keeping your finances safe and secure!

Personal Banking, Security