How To Spot a Love Scam
Avoid Love Scams That Can Create a Financial Debt In Las Vegas
Las Vegas can feel like a big city and a small place at the same time, so many Nevada residents use the web when they want to find true love. But not everyone on the internet is who they claim to be, whether that’s in appearance, personality, or identity altogether. Our Henderson Bankruptcy Lawyers and Las Vegas bankruptcy team has seen an increase in cases that happen when a debtor accrues unmanageable debt due to a love scam.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you might feel like it’s time to make a dating profile and start looking for your special someone. Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys recommend the following tips to avoid love scams that can create debt in the thousands of dollars.
Try To Video Chat Early In The Relationship If An In-Person Visit Isn’t Possible
It’s true that many people who are online dating prefer to communicate over text or through an app for at least a little while at first, rather than phone or video calls. But if your online partner always has an excuse for not being able to video chat, this should raise a red flag. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find a phone that doesn’t offer video chatting capabilities. Someone might still be able to fake personality traits over a video call, but at least you will know that they are the person from their profile.
Don’t Ignore Seemingly Minor Inconsistencies
Your online boyfriend or girlfriend may tell you one thing initially, and you will later realize that it wasn’t the truth. It could be something like their age, career, city, family members, and more. Even if the detail seems small and irrelevant, don’t completely sweep it under the rug. This could be a sign that your online partner could be lying about more serious issues, or creating an entirely false identity.
Remember How Easy It Is To Steal Pictures & Videos From Instagram, TikTok, Etc.
It is so easy for a scammer to find a public Instagram profile of an attractive man or woman and portray those pictures as themselves. If the stolen profile is prolific, the scammer may have enough content to create a new personality that doesn’t match at all. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as “catfishing.” Try running a reverse google image search of the photos your online lover sends you. If you come across a profile with your online partner’s pictures, but under a different name, there is a strong chance that you are dealing with a catfish. There is a very low probability that someone with a social media following is running a secret account under a different name to have an online relationship with you.
Pet Names Are Cute, But First Names Are Sometimes Better
What do we mean by that? Imagine you are a love scammer who makes a living by tricking people into thinking you have a relationship and sending you money. You would probably want to be trying this method on several people at once in case your main target isn’t willing to send money. Which would be easier- making short, cute videos for every John, Paul, and Joe individually, or making one video with a pet name like “babe” and sending it to all of your targets? If your online boyfriend or girlfriend struggles with calling you by your first name, it could be a sign that you are with a love scammer.
Love Shouldn’t Cost a Thing
Okay, maybe you had to pay to join your dating website or have incurred similar dating expenses. But your online boyfriend or girlfriend shouldn’t be asking you for money directly, especially early on in the relationship. Don’t be tempted by requests for money that are necessary to see you, such as a new phone or plane tickets. A relationship with good intentions won’t start with requests for money. Any such requests should immediately raise your guard, and at the very least question your online partner’s intentions.
Don’t Rush Into An Online Relationship
If you’ve been lonely for a while, an attractive stranger swooping in on your dating profile with all the right things to say probably seems like a godsend. Your online boyfriend or girlfriend may try to speed up the scam by progressing your online relationship much faster than a healthy relationship would develop in person. While it’s great to have the same long term goals when seeking a relationship, you shouldn’t be discussing wedding venues and baby names when your relationship can be measured by weeks. Over the top displays of affection could be a warning sign that you are talking to a love scammer.
Can Bankruptcy Help With Debts Already Accrued From a Love Scam?
Stopping a love scam before serious financial loss occurs is ideal, but not possible in every situation. And once a love scammer has gotten what they wanted out of their victim, they often make themselves impossible to locate. This leaves the victim not only with debt, but heartbreak and embarrassment. And while the emotional trauma from a love scam may take years to deal with, you might not have so long to deal with the accompanying financial debts.
You may already have creditors calling and harassing you, or threatening to repossess your assets. At this point, you could be served any day with a summons for a lawsuit against you to collect your debts. If you fail to show up, or don’t have a defense against your creditor’s claims, your creditor may have already secured a judgment against you. Once your creditor has a judgment against you, they can use that judgment to get permission from the court to proceed with more extreme methods of debt collection. Additionally, a lien could be placed on your property, making it impossible to sell until you pay off the debt. Bank creditors often utilize bank account levies, where they would take the money you owe directly from your bank account, regardless of if your rent is paid and groceries bought. But the most common result of debt from love scams is a wage garnishment. The maximum amount that can be deducted for wage garnishments in Nevada is 25% of your paychecks. Your creditor can also increase your balance to be paid with legal fees and interest. Getting out of debt when a quarter of your income is automatically taken out of your paycheck is almost impossible.
When bankruptcy was invented, there is no doubt that its creators were not thinking of debts created through financial relationship scams through the internet. But as times change, people incur debt through new ways, and incurring debt through a love scam is one of those newer ways. If your debts are mostly unsecured, like credit card debts, you may be a good candidate for a Vegas Chapter 7 bankruptcy. But if you have priority debts and secured debts, such as liens, Chapter 13 may be your better option.
Let The Las Vegas Bankruptcy Experts Handle The Details Of Your Case
Our compassionate, experienced Las Vegas bankruptcy team will walk you through the pros and cons of your available options. If you decide you would like our representation in your case, we offer low budget rates and post-filing payment plan options. Call or use our online form to get started with your free consultation today.
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