Know how to spot a scammer
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Know how to spot a scammer
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, scammers have upped their efforts to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. Not only are more people than ever feeling a little lonely and desperate for human interaction, but more people are also working remotely and online, which provides scammers with two advantages on which to capitalize.
At Ambassador Advisors, we unfortunately see our fair share of friends who fall victim to online or telephone scams. For example, one client requested $20,000 and needed to sign an IRA Distribution form for us to provide access. When she came to sign, she inquired about Publisher’s Clearing House. Upon discussion with our advisors, we learned that she had been getting calls from Jamaica and she had already sent $11,000. This $20,000 was for that too. Our advisor brought up information on the Internet to prove that it was a scam and the request for $20,000 was not put through. We helped her to contact her bank and file a police report. 

Regrettably, these are not isolated instances, and it’s likely that you or someone you love could become the target of a scam at some point.

Romance scams, in particular, are dastardly and unfortunately common. For instance, a recently widowed client asked for money to pay off credit cards. Then she emailed us asking to release another $50,000 from her account. An advisor inquired, and she explained she was marrying a man she met through “Facebook Dating.” Our advisor explained he thought it was a scam and that, as her trusted advisor, he couldn’t send her money if he suspected this was a scam. He met with her and showed her information about how these scams work, which was nearly identical to her experience. Nevertheless, she insisted that it was not a scam. Our advisor recommended that she ask the police to look into the issue before sending out money. Police confirmed it was a scam, and the request for $50,000 was not completed.

Scammers are sneaky, which is why it is so imperative to be able to spot their tactics from the beginning of an interaction. Familiarize yourself with the strategies of typical scammer, so that you don’t become a victim:
  1. Scammers will do their homework on you. They’ll know your weaknesses and your relationship status. This is a good reminder to always be careful with information that you share online.
  2. Once contact is made, romance scammers will be quick to profess their love. In typical scams, everything moves very quickly. There may be inconsistencies with the scammer’s behavior and their actions, but their constant doting and affection may make it difficult to see those red flags. Be wary of anything that seems too good to be true.
  3. Scammers will eventually ask for money and may even provide documents that appear official in order to back up their requests. Question everything.
  4. Scammers will often try to isolate their victims from friends or family who may express suspicion of the “relationship.” They will encourage you to ignore the warning signs that your friends and family may bring to your attention, and will often assure you that no one else understands the depth of your relationship with each other.
  5. Often, romance scammers will promise marriage, or engagement, or traveling great distances just to finally meet face-to-face and spend time together, but these promises are rarely kept.
If you or someone you love is already involved in what may be a romance scam, here are some simple steps to take in order to protect yourself and others.
  1. Visit sites such as and Here, you can check for photos that may have been stolen, or pieces of dialogue that are being recycled. Often scammers will have some sort of script they follow to try to increase their authenticity and your trust in them. Fragments of these scripts can be located online.
  2. Do not isolate yourself. Ask for second opinions from trusted family members or friends about your relationship or person of interest. Be willing to listen if concern is expressed. Remember – your friends and family members are the ones who know you and have your best interests at heart. If they are worried that you may be taken advantage of, perhaps you should do some research for yourself.
  3. If you have already lost money in a suspected scam, report it to law enforcement right away, and do not send any more money.
With romance scams on the rise throughout the pandemic, now is the time to educate yourself about warning signs in dangerous online relationships. Don’t allow yourself or a loved one to become a victim of a relationship scammer.

Contact Ambassador Advisors if you have questions or concerns about a potential scam. We’re always here to help you and your money stay safe.

Copyright©2021 Ambassador Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.

Ambassador Advisors is a Registered Investment Advisor.


Securities offered through American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (Holbrook, New York, 631.439.4600), member FINRA, SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through Ambassador Advisors, LLC. Ambassador Advisors is not owned or operated by American Portfolios Financial Services. Dream More, Plan More, Do More is a registered trademark of Ambassador Advisors, LLC, Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. 

This material is for informational purposes only. Neither APFS nor its Representatives provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal or accounting professional before making any decisions. 

Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable and are subject to change without notification. The information presented is provided for informational purposes only and not to be construed as a recommendation or solicitation. Investors must make their own determination as to the appropriateness of an investment or strategy based on their specific investment objectives, financial status and risk tolerance. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Investments involve risk and the possible loss of principal.

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