#romancescams | Romance scammers target people looking for love online

Feb. 14, 2020

Online romance scams are on the rise.

More than 25,000 people filed complaints about romance scams with the Federal Trade Commission in 2019, according to new data released this week. Victims reported losing $200 million last year, up nearly 40% from 2018.

“Love is a very, very powerful emotion and scammers latch onto that and they can ruin your life,” said John Breyault, who runs the website Fraud.org.

Yes, it’s possible to find love online. But be careful. Otherwise, you could wind up in a digital relationship with a con artist who wants to steal your money.

“They’re on every app, every website that’s out there, they’re coming in via Instagram and DMs and via Facebook Messenger,” said Amy Nofziger, with the AARP Fraud Watch Network.

Romance scammers will spend months working their victims, she says, winning their trust and affection.

“Even though you’ve never met them, you’ve seen pictures that they claim are them, you’ve talked or texted with them on the phone and they’re the love of your life, so you trust them,” Nofziger said.

Once they suck you in, they start asking for money, usually by wire transfer or gift card. That’s because these transactions are instant, difficult to reverse and nearly impossible to track.

Romance scam victims lose thousands of dollars before they realize they’ve been taken. I spoke to a woman who sent her virtual husband-to-be $200,000! Most of her life savings are now gone and the experience has left her with significant emotional scars.

So, take it slow. If something seems questionable or a little bit off, trust your instincts – don’t let your heart overrule your brain.

And no matter how much someone professes their love for you, never send money – by wire transfer or gift cards – to a sweetheart you haven’t met in person.

More Info: Looking for love online? Romance scammers steal your heart to steal your money

AARP: Romance Scams

Beware the latest twist on romance scams: The Sugar Daddy set-up

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