Unfortunately, this is the way many “romance scams” start. Fraudsters create fake profiles and build relationships with long-distance targets using online dating or social media websites. They make contact only through email and text message and rarely call you. They may come up with some reason they cannot talk (long distance is expensive… I can’t call internationally… I don’t have a phone…)

Sometimes these relationships will go on for months or years before a request for money is made. By then, the victim is invested in the relationship and will feel obligated to help his or her significant other.
If someone you have an online relationship with requests money from you, do research before you agree to send it to them. Type “romance scam” into a search engine and you’ll get a good idea of what to look for and what to ask yourself. Each scam is different so you may not find your exact situation, but you will probably find something similar.

Before you decide whether to send them money, have a conversation with an RCU branch manager or a Member Service Representative about the situation. We can help you research and determine whether the request is legitimate.