Online daters lost a record $547 million to scams in 2021
The pandemic has seen an increase in romance scams, which have ripped off millions of people online looking for love.
According to A.I., 2021 was a year in which consumers lost $547 million due to romance frauds. report from the Federal Trade Commission. It is an 80% rise in comparison to 2020. The median personal loss was $2,400.
Emma Fletcher (a senior researcher at the FTC), stated, “The data don’t give us the exact reason it’s happening. But I believe it’s reasonable for me to suppose that the pandemic might have helped fuel the continued growth through attracting more people online to dating apps and social networks where they’ve ended up being connected with scammers.”
Since 2017, people have reported $1.3 billion in losses — more than any other kind of fraud that the FTC tracks. Fletcher stated.
She said that it was a major concern and added that many people do not report such losses.
Scams that are common
These are the most common online dating scams.
After matching you online, many fraudsters will request money immediately. They might say that they need to purchase a ticket for you to see them. This is similar to the online dating fraud documentary “The Tinder Swindler” on Netflix..”
Fletcher also reported that investing frauds increased last year. These are when an online person gives you specific advice on investing and usually provides a link for where to send it.
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Fletcher stated that scammers are often disguised as savvy investors and offer advice to potential romantic targets. “They aren’t imagining they’re sending cash to a fraudster.”
Scammers also use cryptocurrency because it is difficult to track. According to FTC, $139 Million was lost in 2021 to cryptocurrency-related romance scams. The median loss for an individual was almost $10,000.
Flags of concern
Online daters have a few options to help protect themselves from becoming victims, says Nev Schulman (host and executive producer, MTV’s Catfish: The TV Show).
Check that you don’t see anything too fantastic to be true. Schulman from Zelle, who is working with Schulman to help consumers avoid scams, suggests that you first check if it matches your past relationships.
Schulman stated, “You need to be careful about people who seem mysterious.” As exciting and captivating as this may sound, it is important to be able to communicate with someone, and possibly even date them.
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Be cautious when someone is traveling a lot and doesn’t tell you what’s happening or why they aren’t able to meet up with you.
He said, “That’s strange for someone trying to find someone with whom to date.”
Eva Velasquez is the CEO of Identity Theft Resource Center. Another red flag would be someone who is always available, but doesn’t seem to match what you’ve heard about them or their career.
“Unlike in The Tinder Swindler,’Fletcher stated that the majority of romance frauds are conducted without any in-person contact.
You think that you have been in contact with a fraudster
There are steps that you may take to help if you don’t understand something about someone or if they ask you for money.
Velasquez stated that first, it is possible to do some research by looking at the images on the person’s profile. You can quickly see if they are using another person’s identity or photos.
Fletcher suggested that you may want to talk with a friend or relative about your situation. A person who isn’t emotionally involved in the situation will be better equipped to spot scammers.
Fletcher stated, “If they speak to people they trust and they are worried about something they shouldn’t be surprised by it,”
You should never send money to someone you don’t know is real. Also, be sure not to give out any personal data, like login credentials and passwords.
She advised that you also notify the dating platform where you have been in contact about the profile. The Identity Theft Resource Center offers free, tailored assistance if you are concerned that your identity might have been stolen.
It’s unlikely that you can get the money back if you have sent it to someone. If you have made a wire transfer or paid charges to your credit card, it may be possible to immediately freeze your bank account. It may not be possible for you to retrieve money if someone sent you money or if the investment was fraudulent.
Fletcher stated that there are limitations to the amount of work possible. Fletcher stated, “It is definitely challenging to help any single consumer.”
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