A WOMAN fell victim to a romance scam that lost her thousands of dollars within a year.
She met the fraudster on Facebook and believed that he was a soldier serving overseas in Iraq.
“After he got there, he didn’t have any access to his money. He needed money and then there were kids there and they needed food. So, I started sending gift cards,” the Kent, Ohio woman told ABC affiliate WEWS.
The widow from Kent asked the outlet not to share her name or age but identified her as a woman over 60 years old who lived near downtown Kent.
She started talking to the scammer in 2022 and lost more than $11,000 in a year before she realized what was happening.
“I gave him all my information, which was very stupid,” she said.
“Then he started moving the money around. He took my social security. I didn’t realize he was buying cryptocurrency with it, but he did.”
She has since been struggling to get her money back and has struggled with the emotional toll the situation had on her confidence.
The woman wanted to share her story so what happened to her wouldn’t happen to others.
“Anybody can say that they love you,” the woman said.
“But if they don’t prove it and you’re the one doing all the giving and they’re the one doing all the taking, that’s not love. That’s greed.”
Ericka Dilworth from the Better Business Bureau spoke to the station expressing that the older population has been taken advantage of more than others in regard to romance scams.
She also said that the red flag to always look out for is when they ask for money before ever meeting in person.
“Scammers know what questions to ask you and how to get you to do what they want you to do which is provide money or personal information,” she said.
“If they’re asking you for gift cards, if they’re asking you to send money through a banking app, if they’re asking you to write a check, you have to put the brakes on and you have to do some homework.”
In 2022, nearly 70,000 people reported that they were victims of a romance scam, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
A total of 1.4 billion dollars was lost from the scams and the median reported loss was $4,400.
The U.S. Sun has previously reported on another woman who was scammed into thinking she was in a relationship with a military man.
The 78-year-old woman had inherited $150,000 after her father died and lost most of it over four years.
When asked how much her mother gave away over the years, her daughter Shelley Gravenstine said, “I don’t know specifically how much.”
“I don’t know if I’ll ever know.
“All I know is my mom went through $150,000 that her father left her when he passed away.
“Things started snowballing and mom got really in deep.”
She eventually gave away all the money she had and had to sell her home before it was foreclosed.