Marin losses in romance scams outlined by FBI | #datingscams | #lovescams

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Nine victims in Marin County lost nearly $300,000 from online romance scams last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced.

The bureau’s San Francisco division reported the Marin totals as part of a regional advisory about the crimes. Throughout the Bay Area, 397 victims lost a combined $27.3 million in the scams last year. Of those, 138 victims older than 60 lost a combined $14.7 million, the FBI said.

“In this type of fraud, scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners on dating websites, apps, or social media by obtaining access to their financial or personal identifying information,” the bureau said in its announcement, which was timed for Valentine’s Day. “Romance scams are prevalent, especially during this time of year.”

The FBI said the actual losses of number of victims “are likely much higher because many victims are too embarrassed to report they’ve been scammed.”

Authorities also reported a trend in romance scams involving cryptocurrency. Scammers coax victims to invest in digital assets, allow them to withdraw some of the apparent gains, then lure them to invest even more. Then the victims are cut off from their accounts.

Aside from $285,105 in Marin losses last year, the Bay Area toll included about $9.4 million from 68 victims in Alameda County; $6.78 million from 65 victims in Contra Costa County; $377,000 from seven victims in Napa County; $1.6 million from 45 victims in San Francisco; $1.4 million from 29 victims in San Mateo County; $6.2 million from 102 victims in Santa Clara County; and $185,613 from 18 victims in Sonoma County. Solano County is part of a different FBI jurisdiction.

In 2022, the FBI reported overall losses of more than $46 million to 493 victims in the region. Nationwide that year, the total was $700 million in losses to more than 19,000 victims.

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