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(A second report later this month is supposed to offer more detail.) The Federal Trade Commission recently revealed that romance scam victims reported losing 3 million across more than 21,000 scams in 2018, which is a huge jump from 2015 when it saw million reported losses.Most people didn’t spend nearly as much as “Laura’s” would-be partner from Texas; the median loss is ,600, though it rises to ,000 among people aged 70 and older.As the number of people looking to meet new people online grows, so does the opportunity for fraud.Some scam artists use bogus profiles to con the people they meet out of hundreds or thousands of dollars.Scammers may then ask their victims to leave the dating site and use personal email or instant messaging (IM).Con artists may express their “love” quickly and effusively, find similarities with the victim, and claim the online match was destiny.
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And they were immediately affectionate, talking about their “passionate love” and asking about their “inner being.” After the scammers established contact, they’d make up a financial emergency, like needing to pay for a flight home.
If the target paid up, they’d repeat the process until it was no longer profitable, eventually ghosting their partner who was often deeply emotionally invested in the relationship.
On top of losing her money, the fake “Andrew” disappeared, and Maria never heard from him again. The scammer may use photos from magazines and portray himself or herself as talented and successful. citizen working or serving abroad, or give a similar excuse to explain their inability to meet in person.
Fake profiles may have discrepancies or inconsistencies, like disproportionate height and weight, or be suspiciously vague. Online dating and romance scams often begin like any other online relationship: interested individuals exchange basic information, like their line of work, their city, and their hobbies and interests.
In one case study, a Texas man spent more than $50,000 during a fake relationship with “Laura Cahill,” supposedly an American model living in Paris.