ROMANCE SCAMS ARE ON THE RISE ACROSS THE U.S.

ROMANCE SCAMS ARE ON THE RISE ACROSS THE U.S.
by


Aarthi Swaminathan
Finance Writer (Yahoo Money)

A report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that romance scams are soaring, with more than 21,000 people reporting them in 2018.

Based on 21,368 reports about romance scams submitted, the FTC found that Americans involved had lost a total of $143 million, which was “more than any other type of consumer fraud” identified by the FTC’s team, the report stated.

“These reports are rising steadily,” the report added. “In 2015, by comparison, people filed 8,500… reports with dollar losses of $33 million.” The Consumer Federation of America also noted several romance scams in their latest report.

PEOPLE OVER 70 LOSING $10,000 TO SCAMMERS

The median loss to an individual who was a victim of a romance scam was $2,600 in 2018. That was “about seven times higher than the median loss across all other fraud types,” the report stated.

The demographic of people aged 40 to 69 reported the highest losses. Additionally, people over 70 reported the highest individual median losses due to a romance scam — a staggering $10,000.

The report noted that romance scammers lured people with fake online profiles, “often lifting photos from the web to create attractive and convincing personas.”

While scammers were active on dating websites or apps, the report also noted that many people were targeted on Facebook, where the scammer would begin with a Facebook message.

(Source: FTC)

The Australian government puts out information for spotting romance scams. (Source: scamwatch.gov.au)

“Once these fraudsters have people by the heartstrings, they say they need money, often for a medical emergency or some other misfortune,” the report noted. “They often claim to be in the military and stationed abroad, which explains why they can’t meet in person. Pretending to need help with travel costs for a long-awaited visit is another common ruse.”

‘IT BECAME TOO OBVIOUS’

Yahoo Finance spoke to once such victim, AJ, who met someone on an LGBT dating app called HER.

“She was a Hispanic/black young lady who claimed to be in the military and was currently on duty in Iraq or something like that,” the 27-year-old said.

She was initially thrilled that the person was responsive to her messages, but she felt that something was off.

“Her English sucked,” AJ said. “Initially I thought it was because she was not raised in the U.S. or had poor or little education but later on it became too obvious.”

On top of that, she was “not willing to have calls or video calls (essentially no direct communication)… [and it] took her forever to send a picture of herself.”

Culled from: Yahoo Money

 



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