Beware of Romance Scams
Half of all people in America report themselves as single. In 2015, 50% of the U.S. population consisted of single adults, which has increased from 48% in 2011. This relationship status has created a boom in online dating sites. Tinder alone reported processing 1.6 billion swipes per day in 2018. 40% of Americans, both young and old now report using online dating services.
40% of Americans, both young and old now report using online dating services
But with the rise in online dating has come the criminal and the scammer element as well. They’re allured by a target rich environment of those looking for love. Often these people are in the right frame of mind to do things they might not otherwise do for someone they believe is their soulmate. The Federal Trade Commission reports, in 2018, there were more than 21,000 reports about romance scams, and people reported losing a total of $143 million. That’s more than any other type of scam tracked.
2018, there were more than 21,000 reports about romance scams
These scammers will often make first contact through non-dating sites such as Facebook. They will have made up profiles designed to lure the victim in. Even their pictures are likely false, gathered from other sites around the Internet. Once they have their target by the heartstrings, they’ll start the process of reeling the victim in. They can be quiet patient, while they nurture their long distance love affair with stories of how hard it is to be so far away from home. But ultimately once they gain your trust, they’ll tell you of some calamity or incident that has befallen them. If only some kind soul would offer some assistance.
The median individual loss to a romance scam reported in 2018 was $2,600
Romance scamming is quite lucrative. The FTC reports that the median individual loss to a romance scam reported in 2018 was $2,600, about seven times higher than the median loss across all other fraud types. People often reported sending money repeatedly for one supposed crisis after another.
Romance scams account for about seven times the median loss of other types of scams
Surprisingly middle-aged and older reported the highest losses. People ages 40 to 69 reported
losing money to romance scams at the highest rates – more than twice the rate of people in their 20s. At the same time, people 70 and over reported the highest individual median losses at $10,000. There is a significant fiscal danger should you fall victim to a romance scam.
You can protect yourself by,
Never sending money to a person you have not met in person
Talking with your friends and family about this relationship. They’ll often spot inconsistencies you might miss in the excitement of a new relationship.
Try a reverse-image search of their profile pictures. If they’re associated with another name or with details that don’t match up, it’s a scam.
Find out more at FTC.gov/imposters