Geek’s Blog

Romance Scams in 2023

Hey, Geek fans, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner it’s the month of love! Which means some of us will be craving some extra TLC this February! With social media and online dating, it is easier than ever to find romantic connections with people from all over the world! But, along with convenience, connecting online also involves some risks. One of these risks being romance scams!

Between 2019 and 2020, the average loss per romance scam victim in New Zealand was a whopping $18,667. And unfortunately, most of this loss would have been unrecoverable. So, in this blog, we’ve compiled a list of tell-tale signs and handy tips to help you avoid becoming a part of this statistic!

Man using technology

How do romance scams work?

Romance scams involve fraudsters posing as ideal romantic partners and convincing individuals to send them money or personal information. This can happen through email, social media, dating websites and apps.

To begin with, scammers will often create fake online profiles with stolen photos and information from the internet. They will have a well-thought-out and extensive backstory to make their profile seem genuine and trustworthy.

They will either hook victims in by reaching out and contacting them through their in-genuine online profiles or by creating fake website ads that advertise made-up dating websites or lure victims to their fake profiles. 

After successfully targeting an individual, scammers will then build a relationship with their victim through messaging and phone calls. Eventually, after some time, they will request money or personal information for various reasons such as travel costs, medical expenses, or financial assistance to meet in person.

In the end, none of these reasons are real, and victims can lose substantial amounts of money.

How to identify romance scams

Romance scammers spend a lot of time and energy building a very convincing backstory to go with their fake profile and other scam techniques. However, there are a few tell-tale signs that can give away a romance scam.

  • Make sure to do a thorough check of a person’s online profile. Check if the photos were all added recently, this is sometimes a sign of a new fake profile.
  • Search for the person on various social platforms, including, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Cross-referencing photos, information, and friend groups.
  • The person you’re talking to is hesitant to meet in person or provide personal information.
  • The person makes confessions of love or strong feelings within a short time of speaking to them.
  • They ask for money or personal information early into the relationship
  • The person makes unrealistic and unbelievable claims
  • They avoid answering personal and specific questions and their answers don’t match their profile information or previous conversations you’ve had.
  • If several scammers are alternating to maintain the online relationship you might notice a change in the person’s writing style.

Although it is common for romance scammers to move quickly in an online relationship, many scammers can be incredibly persistent and don’t mind playing the waiting game. Some romance scams can go on for months or even longer before scammers request money or personal information.

How to manage a romance scam

If you suspect you may be the victim of a romance scam, there are a few steps you can take to manage your situation.

First and foremost, stop all communication with the potential scammer and cease sending them money or personal information.

If you’ve given the scammer information such as your personal account log-ins, change your passwords. If you’ve given them your credit card information, call your bank provider and cancel your card.

You can report romance scams using either of the following cyber safety organisations:

  • CERT NZ – Computer Emergency Response Team New Zealand
  • Netsafe – New Zealand’s independent, non-profit online safety organisation

Should you lose money through a romance scam, you can reach out to NZ Police at for assistance. Although the police will do their best to help, the reality is that your funds will probably not be recovered. This is both because the scammer will likely be located in a country without effective law enforcement for NZ police to liaise with, and because scammers are often cunning in hiding their true identity.

Lastly, if you or one of your loved ones become victims of a romance scam, our experts at Geeks on Wheels are here to help! Our technicians can provide support and advice, update your device’s security, and help you change your account logins. Just Book a Geek today!