Police say a 70-year-old woman was recently scammed out of about $250,000.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – State police are warning of romance scams, saying they often increase during the holiday season and may even become more common because of isolation during the pandemic.

Police pointed to a recent incident where a 70-year-old woman was contacted by a person who claimed to be a military general and said he wanted to travel to meet and marry her. She lost about $250,000, police say.

Police say in many cases, romance scams start on social media before the scammer suggests moving to an unmonitored platform. They’ll call or send emails with photos that may just be stock images pulled from the internet.

It’s also common for the scammer to begin threatening the victim when they become aware of the scam and try to end the relationship, police say.

They’re asking family members of potentially vulnerable victims to be vigilant, encouraging victims to immediately end all communications, delete affected social media apps and notify their banks and police. Police say victims should also change their social media profiles, phone numbers and email addresses.

The state police “strongly recommends” that residents only talk to people they know in real life on social media.