3 Danger Signs Of Relationship Scams

People routinely pretend to be what they are not in order to get what they want, and that includes pretending to be madly in love.

Failing to recognize relationship scams and money-driven relationship predators (regardless of how sexy, God-fearing or charming they are) before getting involved can do plenty of damage, including ruining your credit, destroying your business, derailing your career and even forcing you into bankruptcy or onto public assistance.

You are even more vulnerable to relationship scams if you are a successful business owner or professional with access to greater financial resources than most. To protect yourself, here are three signs, gleaned from both personal experience (Yes, really) and expert observation, that a person is using love to gain access to your money:

[Related: Oh Yes They Did! Millions Committing ‘Financial Infidelity’]

There is a direct correlation between the quality and intensity of your relationship and your cash flow. If he is always present, affectionate, possessive and/or sexually available around pay day or when a financial windfall is expected, but inexplicably distant, irritable, argumentative or absent when your bank balances are low, pay attention. It is no coincidence that “cuffing season,” when people are motivated to couple up during the fall and winter months, traditionally ends in the spring, as warmer weather returns–or perhaps after tax refunds start rolling in.

Conversely, the winter holiday season is usually a period of big windfalls, including year-end bonuses–and gift giving, of course.

They are repeatedly in a state of emergency–and only you can rescue them. She is constantly getting stranded in a strange place with no access to cash; surprised by large, overdue, unanticipated bills; losing a job; getting robbed; and/or about to be evicted or have her car repossessed. And of course she wouldn’t dream of asking you for help, but she has no place else to turn, and she swears she’ll make it up to you. Besides (she says in that tearfully seductive way that promises mind-blowing sex as an expression of undying gratitude): You’re the only one in the world she can count on.

This is one of the most reliable signs of a drama queen (or king), or an adult dependent who believes that if you really love them, you should pay their bills and finance their lifestyle.

They try to convince you that they are better qualified to spend your money than you are. He may start out subtly at first, by casually mentioning your past financial mistakes, innocently questioning your spending habits or hinting that he is more savvy about money or business than you are. Your actual respective levels of financial education won’t matter; he’ll still, for example, infer and ultimately insist that his street-hustling experience trumps your MBA in finance.

His ultimate goal is to convince you to relax and entrust all the financial decisions to him, for your own good. Soon, you’ll be expected to ask him for permission to spend your money–even if you are the primary breadwinner in the relationship.

For more red flags about relationships and money, read “6 Signs Your Sweetheart Is Using Love To Get Control of Your Money” at GrownZone.com.

Black Enterprise Executive Editor-At-Large Alfred Edmond Jr. is an award-winning business and financial journalist, media executive, entrepreneurship expert,  personal growth/relationships coach, and co-founder of Grown Zone, a multimedia initiative focused on personal growth and healthy decision-making. This blog is dedicated to his thoughts about money, entrepreneurship, leadership and mentorship. Follow him on Twitter at @AlfredEdmondJr.