HOUSTON, Texas (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Love hurts! And when it’s a romance scam, it’s a double-edged sword. The FTC reports that people lose more money on romance scams than any other type of fraud. In 2020, romance scams reached 304 million dollars in reported losses. That’s up about 50 percent from 2019. These scammers prey on people eager for love, here’s tips on how you can protect your heart and wallet.
From stolen yachts and champion horses to money laundering criminal masterminds, Michelle Gomez specializes in locating hard to find items and people.
“You have to get inside the mind of the criminal.” Gomez explains of her work.
She is a skip tracer, who is part PI and part bounty hunter.
Her colleague, AJ Barrera Jr says, “Michelle has the determination. She’s not going to stop until she gets done.”
And she loves taking on cases others can’t solve.
“There is so much fraud going on. Women are getting taken for their money and men are too.” Gomez warns.
Romance scams are the second most reported crime to the FBI. But Gomez says there are ways people can protect themselves. First, spot the warning signs.
Gomez further adds, “The moment a man asks you for money or a woman ask you for money… no. That’s a flag. That’s the start of their game.”
Also be careful if the relationship is getting serious fast or if they break promises to see you in person. The COVID pandemic is making it easier for scammers to provide excuses to cancel first dates. Some scammers may even send photos of themselves to prove they are real, but a reverse image search can find out if the photos are associated with another name.
“If a woman or a man is eager to find love, they are blind.” Gomez says.
Talk to a close friend or family member about your new love interest. They may be able to spot inconsistencies you may miss and save yourself and your wallet from heartbreak.
The median amount victims reported losing from romance scams was 25 hundred dollars. The highest amounts were for those over the age of 70 with losses at nearly ten thousand dollars. If you did fall victim, Gomez says cut communications off right away, collect conversations and transactions for the relationship and report it to the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint or the FBI at www.ic3.gov.
Contributor(s) to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.
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