PHOENIX – Scammers who use Internet dating sites to prey on victims in Arizona and across the nation are stealing millions of dollars each year.
Cynthia Fagyas, communications director for AARP Arizona, says the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported receiving more than 6,000 romance scam complaints in a recent year with losses totaling $81 million.
She adds the story of an AARP member victimized out of hundreds of thousands of dollars helped put the issue in the spotlight.
“That’s kind of what prompted AARP to take notice of this new type of scamming and talk to the Federal Trade Commission, law enforcement – to find out what’s going on and the steps that online dating companies can take to better protect their users,” she says.
Fagyas says AARP’s Fraud Watch Network is asking online dating companies to use algorithms to detect suspicious language patterns used by scammers, search for fake profiles, and alert any member who has been in contact with someone using a fraudulent profile.
Fagyas says AARP Arizona is also inviting its members and the general public to become involved by signing an online petition through aarp.org. She adds that people of all ages are being victimized, but older Americans may be at greater risk. “When you take a look at older folks in their 60s and 70s, they tend to be more trusting, and may be easier to be taken advantage of because they are trusting,” she says. The AARP Fraud Watch Network has posted tips on how to avoid online scams.
Source: Public News Service