FTC says public lost $1.3 billion to online romance scams

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Based on the incredible amount of South Korean romance dramas Netflix recommends to my poor soul, I can guarantee you I’m a sucker for a good romance. However, I am no fan of getting scammed and I come as a messenger with a humble warning: love and money online will almost certainly come to an unhappy end.

The actual sender of the message is the Federal Trade Commissionwhich was much harsher in the advisories it issued earlier this week telling the public to avoid online romance scams. According to the agency, this type of fraud hit an all-time high in 2021, with people reporting $547 million in losses. This is nothing compared to the amount of money individuals have lost over the past five years. love scams— $1.3 billion, more than any other FTC fraud category.

“Romance scammers weave all sorts of believable stories to scam people, but their old vigil involves cries for help while claiming one financial or health crisis after another,” the agency wrote in a statement. press article. “People who have lost money to a romantic scammer often say they send money repeatedly: they think they are helping someone they care about. But that is all a lie. “

The average person said lose about $2,400 to online romance scams in 2021. Notably, the agency found that the most reported losses were paid out to cryptocurrency scammers, which accounted for $139 million in losses last year. Gift cards were the most common payment method for scammers.

Unsurprisingly, the FTC says scammers are finding lots of people on dating apps, although some people say they’ve been contacted on social media via unexpected private messages.. In 2021, more than a third of people who said they lost money because of a The romance scam said it started on Facebook or Instagram.

In addition to the common cry for help described by the agency above, a The common scheme used by romance scammers is to ask their victims to help them transfer money for various shady purposes, such as getting their inheritance money or closing a business deal. Although this may seem innocent, the FTC explains that it turns victims into money launderers.

“Stories like this often cause people to become ‘financial mules’ – they may think they are just helping out, but they are actually laundering stolen funds,” the agency wrote. “These stories are also used to encourage people to send their own money.”

In the latter cases, some victims pay bogus fees to accept money that the scammers never actually sent. Others deposit a check from their scam lovers, then send them money, only to find the check was fake.

After reading all of this, some of you may be discouraged in your quest to find love online. Don’t be sad: not all love interests are scammers! If you’re still looking for romance online, there are things to keep in mind and steps you can take to make sure you and your money are safe.

According to the FTC, you should know that no legitimate love interests will ask you to send them money via cryptocurrency, gift cards, or wire transfers. On that note, you shouldn’t send money or make investments with anyone you haven’t met in real life. You should also take advantage of your support network, like your friends and family, and tell them about your new found love online. Ask them what they think of the person and the situation.

Another good rule of them is to search your new love’s profile picture online on the Internet. Scammers can create fake profiles with photos of other people on the web, and a reverse image search can help you find out if your new love is a crook.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s probably a good idea to be on the lookout for any weird requests from your love online. If they ask you for money to prove your love, make a tough pass and buy yourself something nice instead. There is nothing better in this world than self-love. I can assure you this Is it that last forever.

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