EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Albuquerque FBI Division is warning New Mexico residents to beware of romance scams which tend to increase during this time of year due to people using the internet to find that special someone.

Romance scams occur 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 relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.

Romance scam perpetrators are usually men targeting older women who are divorced, widowed, elderly, or disabled, but scammers do not discriminate, according to the Albuquerque FBI Division.

One type of romance scam that is becoming more prevalent is “pig butchering,” in which the criminal contacts a victim, usually on dating and social media apps. After building trust, the scammer will convince the victim to make investments in cryptocurrency to take advantage of the potential for high yield returns. To facilitate the investment and demonstrate the returns on investment, victims are directed to websites that appear authentic but are actually controlled by the scammer.

After the victim has made several cryptocurrency investments through these fake sites, the scammer vanishes, cutting off contact with the victim, and taking the invested sums with them. For more information you can head to Romance Scams — FBI.