Scam Alert: Romance Scams on the Rise

Posted on 01/30/23 by David Kalinoski

(Harrisburg, PA) – As we approach Valentine’s Day, AARP Pennsylvania is warning all residents to be on high alert for romance scams. These scams, which often occur through online dating websites, social media, or over the phone, involve criminals posing as potential romantic partners to gain the trust of unsuspecting victims.

"Scammers prey on people who are looking for love and companionship," said David Kalinoski, who leads the AARP Pennsylvania Consumer Issues Task Force. "They use emotional appeals to get victims to send money, personal information, or even gifts."

With the rise and mainstreaming of online dating, romance scams have been increasing. Scammers typically create fake online profiles using stolen photos and false information to lure victims into a fake romantic relationship. They then begin to ask for money, often claiming to need it for a medical emergency or travel expenses.

"It's important for Pennsylvanians to be vigilant and not rush into a relationship before they know the person they're talking to," said Kalinoski. "Don't send money or personal information to someone you haven't met in person. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is."

AARP Pennsylvania recommends that these tips be followed in order to be protected from romance scams:

  • Be cautious of anyone who quickly declares their love for you or asks you to move your relationship to a personal level
  • Be wary of anyone who asks for money, gift cards, or personal information
  • Be suspicious of anyone who seems too good to be true
  • Do a reverse image search on any pictures you receive to see if they are stolen from someone else
  • Never send money to someone you haven't met in person

Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at


About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.

This story is provided by AARP Pennsylvania. Visit the AARP Pennsylvania page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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