Finding the love of your life, for those unlucky enough to not already have, is something highly sought after and greatly prized. But when something is highly sought after and people are leaving themselves exposed as they might be going through all kinds of things, others can easily take advantage and make a huge profit from a lonely person. Online dating is a way that a lot of people try and find partners and it makes targeting those on even easier. But the people actually on the dating sites may surprise you. First off, in the U.S. alone, nearly 35 million Americans have tried online dating, and in the past decade or so, the number of users shot up by almost 50%, and an unexpectedly high number of older Americans also use dating sites; over 1 in 10 daters are over the age of 55, but for the most part, most users are under 30.
Today, romance related scams are the most expensive form of online fraud. In 2016, a Japanese woman sent her online boyfriend, a U.S. Army captain stationed in Syria, over $200,000 – leaving her very close to bankruptcy. But within a year, she found out that her boyfriend didn’t even exist, and instead, he was made up of a ring of 14 cyber scammers operating out of Los Angeles and Nigeria. In 2018, the average reported loss from a romance scam was an astounding $2,600 – that 7 times more than the cost of many other online scams, but for people over 70, the cost is much higher at a whopping $10,000 per scam and between the years 2010 and 2012, Debby Johnson lost over $1 million to a dating scammer, liquidating her retirement, investments, and some of her parents’ savings.
All of this shows how dangerous online dating can be. Find out how you can protect your heart and your wallet here.