6 Common Phrases Used by Romance Scammers, According to a Psychotherapist

Financial scams, or ploys to get someone’s money by deceiving them, have been around for a while. Often, these scammers prey on older folks, but that’s not always the case. Other populations can be “vulnerable," too, like individuals who are single (and don’t want to be) or crave love.

That’s when a romance scam comes in. It can happen to anyone. A type of financial scam, romance fraud is when “a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim,” according to the FBI’s website. And there are common romance scammer phrases that should be on your radar.

Being able to spot a romance scammer ASAP is crucial for not only your bank account, but also your well-being. Being psychologically tricked and stolen from can cause stress or be a blow to your self-esteem. To help, a therapist warns about common scammer phrases and other signs to look for, as well as what to do if this happens to you.



6 Common Phrases Used by Romance Scammers

Natalie Jambazian, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in narcissistic abuse recovery, and the author of Detoxing from a Narcissist, says you may hear (or read) romance scammers say things like this:

1. “I’ve never met anyone like you before. You are so unique.”

Phrases like this can make you feel more special than anyone else. Kind of an incredible feeling, right?

To be clear, you are unique! Just be aware that a romance scammer isn’t saying that to make it feel good, or because they’ve invested any genuine emotion in your relationship. They'd say it to anyone they're trying to manipulate. They just want your trust and compassion so they can steal from you later.

Related: 12 Red Flags You Shouldn’t Ignore When Dating in Your 60s, According to Psychologists

2. “I’ve never felt this way about anyone. You are the most beautiful person inside and out.”

The same reminders go for phrases like this one!

3. “If you love me, you’ll help me.”

Here, we’ve got a classic case of manipulation.

4. “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”

If you hear this at the beginning of a relationship, or feel like it’s a bit intense given the situation, listen to that feeling!

5. “You’re my soulmate.”

Retweeting the point above about listening to your gut.

Related: Twin Flame Relationships: Are They Your Soulmate or a Toxic Trickster?

6. “You make my life so much better by being in it.”

Friendly reminder that you aren't obligated to do anything for this person; you aren't responsible for their happiness. You don’t owe them anything, including your attention, and you don’t need to feel bad about putting yourself first.

What These Phrases Have in Common

Those phrases are often (if not always) indicative of “love bombing,” Jambazian says, a manipulative tactic in which someone gives excessive attention, admiration and adoration. This can happen early in the relationship and throughout it, especially after an argument or when they can tell you’re suspicious of their behavior and pulling away.

Related: ‘Love Bombing’ Sounds Romantic, but Here’s Why It’s Actually a Red Flag”

Why Do Romance Scammers Do This?

Love bombing doesn’t always mean a romance scam is afoot; it’s also used in other kinds of relationships with abusers and narcissists.

With romance scamming, love bombing has a unique purpose. “Romance scammers use these phrases to quickly lure the victim in, in order to manipulate and take control over the relationship,” Jambazian says.

After all, when a person hears something like they're “the most beautiful woman” or “easy to love”—especially if they desperately want to feel that way—it’s understandable that they may believe it, fall quickly and do what it takes to keep that person in their life. 

Love bombing isn’t a romance scammer’s only tactic, either: “They will gaslight in order to gain control and exert power in the relationship,” Jambazian adds. Gaslighting is when someone manipulates another person to make them doubt their perceptions, point of view and reality.

It might look like claiming a situation or conversation never happened (when you both know it did) or making you feel bad for doubting if they're acting genuine, though those are only two brief examples. Gaslighting can also be more subtle, like pretending to not understand, veiling criticism as encouragement and tone-policing.

Related: 14 Genius Phrases To Shut Down Gaslighting, According to Psychologists

5 Other Signs of a Romance Scammer

1. The relationship takes off and escalates quickly.

You may feel love-bombed or like you two are moving too fast.

2. They ask for money or financial help.

AKA what they're actually trying to get out of you with their subtle manipulation.

3. They avoid answering personal questions about themselves and deflect conversations.

Genuine relationships entail a bit of give-and-take; they're about getting to know each other on a deep, mutual level. If the person doesn’t seem interested in this, it’s more than likely a red flag.

4. They want photos of you but won’t share their own.

You may have heard of this concept regarding catfishing, which is pretending like you’re someone else by using their photos and information. Romance-scamming is basically catfishing for money.

In the case of romance scammers, you won’t get any pictures—but they’ll want some of you. According to Jambazian, this could be to blackmail and control you, to scare you into giving them what they want, or to create fake profiles with later so they can continue to scam people.

5. They isolate you by discouraging you from sharing details about the relationship with others.

In a real relationship, you should be free to talk about your partner and the relationship you share with loved ones (within limits and boundaries, of course). A romance scammer won’t like this, though, because it could lead to you finding out their true intentions before they can get money out of you.

What to Do if You Think You’re Being Romance-Scammed

After seeing the signs, the answer is clear: Hit that block button.

Jambazian recommends doing this as soon as you recognize the signs. “Trust your instincts,” she says. “If it feels too good to be true, it probably is.”

Next up: ‘Stranger Things’ Fan Speaks Out After Being Catfished Out of $10K