In the broadest sense, a Relationship Scam is one when there is a relationship between the scammer (or group of scammers) and the victim. This means the scammer(s) are communicating directly with the victim, as opposed to a computer luring or trapping the victim to exploit them.
A Relationship Scam does not depend on just one type of medium or communication type, and in fact, can include email, phone, video & text chat, text messages, and online platforms – it can even be face to face.
Examples of Relationship Scams include:
- Romance Scams
- Lotto Scams
- Tax, Social Security, or other Phone or Email Scams
- Sextortion or other forms of Blackmail Scams
- Recommended Investment Scams
- Grandparent Scams
- Gift card Scams
- Gambian-style Marriage Scams (these start as a romance scam and lead to a face to face scam)
- Charity Scams
- Police or Investigative Scams
- Jury Duty Scams
- Other Financial Fraud & Scams
- and more …
In all cases, a Relationship Scam will have the victim talking to the scammer(s) directly at some point by whatever means.
Phishing scams and also lead to a Relationship Scam if it is used to connect directly with the victim, instead of just stealing credentials (logging and passwords).
SCARS provides support for Relationship Scam victims!