The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently published a report showing that romance scams are relentlessly gathering momentum. The number of romance scams has increased in 2.5 times, from 8,500 in 2015 to 21,368 last year, overtaking the number of any other type of consumer fraud.
Romance scams data
The data provided below shows that in 2015 the number of reports did not exceed 10,000, and the total loss was estimated at about $33 million. The situation has been worsening since 2016, when the reported loss accounted for $75 million, two times bigger than in 2015. However, the year of 2018 broke all the records when the total loss comprised over $143 million.
How do scammers lure people?
Romance scammers usually create attractive and convincing personas on the dating sites and apps or social media, like Facebook, for example. They frequently use fake photos and names, but there were cases of assuming the identities of real people. The scammers lure people with their sob stories to convince victims to send them large amounts of money.
Once the romance scammers have people by the heartstrings, they say they need money for medical treatment or for any other quite sad reason. The fraudsters usually explain to victims that they are in the military and stationed abroad, thus, they cannot meet. The report says that most affected are people from 40 to 69, the rate of their losing money to romance scams is higher more than twice in compare to the rate of people in their 20s.
Tips how to not get engaged in a romance scam
- Do not send money or anything else to the sweetheart you have never met in person before.
- Tell your close friends about your sweetheart. People can become blinded when they are in love, thus, pay attention if your friends or family are concerned.
- Do not rush, just take it slowly. Try to ask questions, use a reverse-image search of the profile picture. If something does not match, it is a scam.
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