Scammers pulled in $304 million from victims final yr, a 50% improve from 2019, the FTC says.
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This story initially appeared on PC Mag
In 2020, the scams duped folks into giving up $304 million, a 50% improve from the earlier yr, according to the US Federal Commerce Fee. The variety of reviews the FTC obtained from romance rip-off victims additionally reached 32,792, up 30% yr over yr.
What didn’t change is how a lot the fraudsters usually extracted from unsuspecting victims. People gave up a median of $2,500, which is in line with losses reported in 2018.
Picture credit score: FTC
The scams often contain a “too good to be true” profile on a dating app or a social media platform from somebody who tries to schmooze their manner into your coronary heart. It should typically be loaded with photos of a pretty particular person. However in actuality, it’s all a ruse to dupe you into sending cash to the pretend lover, often by way of financial institution wire switch or by buying digital gift cards.
A purple flag for a romance rip-off is when the purported suitor comes up with causes for why they’ll’t see you in particular person. Sadly, COVID-19 has solely given the fraudsters seemingly legit excuses to keep away from assembly up.
“The pandemic has each made that simpler and impressed new twists to their tales, with many individuals reporting that their so-called suitor claimed to be unable to journey due to the pandemic,” the FTC stated. “Some scammers have reportedly even canceled first date plans as a consequence of a supposed optimistic COVID-19 take a look at.”
The pandemic has additionally given the scammers one more reason to ask folks for cash. In keeping with the FTC, some victims reported the fraudsters claimed that they had a medical emergency as a consequence of COVID-19.
Apparently, the romance scammers can even do the alternative and ship the victims cash. Nevertheless, the FTC says the despatched cash is often laundered stolen funds from one other crime. “The truth is, many reported that the cash they obtained and forwarded on turned out to be stolen unemployment advantages,” the regulator added.
Victims aged 20 to 29 noticed the largest improve in romance scams. Nevertheless, it was these over 70 who reported shedding probably the most cash, with the person median losses at $9,475.
The FTC has numerous tips about how one can shield your self from a romance rip-off. One noteworthy method is to do a reverse image search on the images of your suitors’ profile web page. This may reveal whether or not their images had been lifted from one other supply.