Massachusetts residents lost $8 million to romance scams in 2020; FBI asks residents to ‘swipe left’ on potential romance scams | #lovescams | #datingapps

The FBI is asking Massachusetts residents to “swipe left” on potential romance scams this year after residents lost more than $8 million last year.

“Scammers use online dating apps & sites to build trusting relationships with victims & persuade them to send money or share personal and financial information,” FBI Boston said on Twitter. “Never send money to someone you have only met online.”

Across the U.S., victims lost about $605 million due to romance scams. In New England, victims lost about $11.7 million, with Massachusetts residents losing the most. There were 361 victims in the commonwealth.

“In this type of fraud, scammers take advantage of people looking for companionship or romantic partners on dating websites, apps, chat rooms, and social networking sites with the sole goal of obtaining access to their financial or personal identifying information,” The FBI Boston Division said in a statement. “Romance scams are prevalent, especially during this time of year. Increased isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in more people looking for love online.”

Last year, Auburn Police Department detective Keith Chipman helped get a 78-year-old woman $65,000 back after she fell victim to the scam.

“I just felt, what if that was my grandmother or my mom? I think any officer would have done the same thing and acted the same way,” Chipman said. “You want to give them some encouraging news. It is very rare that we are able to recover that money.”

The woman met what she thought was a good-looking man wearing an Army shirt before she was scammed out of about $160,000.

“I was divorced at one time and I thought well, maybe with him being divorced, maybe I can talk to him and help him or something. I’m that kind of person,” she continued to say.

Many others have similar stories.

To stay safe, the FBI asks that people consider the options below:

  • Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.
  • Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the image, name, or details have been used elsewhere.
  • Go slowly and ask lots of questions.
  • Beware if the individual seems too perfect, or quickly asks you to communicate “offline.”
  • Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family.
  • Beware if the individual claims to be working and living far away, whether it’s on the other side of the country or overseas.
  • Beware if the individual promises to meet in person, but then always cancels because of some emergency.
  • Beware if you’re asked to send inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
  • Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally.
  • Never help anyone move money through your own account or someone else’s. You could become an unwitting money mule for the perpetrator helping to carry out other theft and fraud schemes.

If someone believes they are part of a scam, stop all contact immediately, the FBI said. If they have already sent money, report any transfer of funds to your financial institution and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at

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