Sasha-Ann Simons. According to the FBI, romance scams result in the highest amount of financial losses to victims when compared to other internet crimes. The ideal partner turns out to be a sophisticated scam artist, and a love-struck single is left not only broken-hearted — but broke. Being scammed by a romantic interest met online is now the most common type of consumer fraud in the United States, according to the Federal Trade Commission FTC. In , nearly 40 D. And the criminal acts go beyond city and state borders, involving networks of accomplices overseas.
Debra Newell was 59 years old and had been married four times when she met John Meehan. She was successful, she ran her own design firm and she was well off. Meehan looked like he was homeless, but said he was a doctor.
Other scam artists make their fake profiles look as appealing as possible and wait from victims to reach out and begin the conversation. Once a scammer has.
McClellan and Social Catfish spoke to an actual romance scammer from Nigeria in The scammer shared specific details about the scam and even sent a page playbook full of ways to lure in victims, or “clients as the scammer calls them. It starts by creating a fake profile to lure in lonely victims. The scammers target online dating sites and popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The scammer looks for pictures liked by many people and will send messages to people who liked the picture.
The scammers cast a wide net as they try to find potential victims. The scammer will take time to cultivate an online relationship, make the victim feel loved, and then take advantage of a lonely person who thinks the relationship is real. In the age of online dating, establishing relationships without a face-to-face meeting is common.
The new love of your life is trying to scam you.
Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts
Because seniors are thought to have a significant amount of money sitting in their accounts. Low-income older adults are also at risk of financial abuse. Every U. In these types of scams, perpetrators may pose as a Medicare representative to get older people to give them their personal information, or they will provide bogus services for elderly people at makeshift mobile clinics, then use the personal information they provide to bill Medicare and pocket the money. Most commonly, counterfeit drug scams operate on the Internet, where seniors increasingly go to find better prices on specialized medications.
This scam is growing in popularity—since , the FDA has investigated an average of 20 such cases per year, up from five a year in the s.
A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigning romantic intentions towards a victim, Scammers post profiles on dating websites, social media accounts, classified sites and even online forums to “The Perfect Man Who Wasn’t”.
Con artists make money through deception. If that doesn’t work, they’ll take advantage of our weaknesses — loneliness, insecurity, poor health or simple ignorance. The only thing more important to a con artist than perfecting a con is perfecting a total lack of conscience. What does the average con artist look like? Despite what you may think, he isn’t always a shady-looking character. A con artist is an expert at looking however he needs to look.
If the con involves banking or investments , the con artist will wear a snappy suit. If it involves home improvement scams, he’ll show up wearing well-worn work clothes. Even the basic assumption that the con is a “he” is incorrect: there are plenty of con women too. They can be very charming and persuasive. A good con artist can even make you believe he is really an old friend you haven’t seen in years. Con artists do share certain characteristics, however.
Online Dating Scams and How to Protect Yourself
AARP Rewards is here to make your next steps easy, rewarding and fun! Learn more. A Pew Research Center study revealed that nearly 60 percent of U.
In an imposter scam, a con artist will contact a potential victim and pose as a Imposters pose as individuals on dating sites, social media sites, or even in.
Sh’reen Morrison had been on an online dating site for only a few weeks before she realized that something was seriously wrong with the man who had been actively pursuing her by text message and email. They’d hit it off right away, and he said he lived just outside of Phoenix, which seemed relatively proximate to a woman in remote Yuma, Ariz. But meeting in person was always a problem. First, he was traveling through India with his daughter. Then the daughter became ill and had to be hospitalized.
When Morrison suggested that her suitor put his daughter on a plane to get better medical attention at home — and even offered to pick the girl up at the airport — a new crisis struck. By then, Morrison knew she was dealing with a scammer.
9 things scammers tell you
Millions of people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, many find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money. Read about the stories romance scammers make up and learn the 1 tip for avoiding a romance scam. People reported losing more money to romance scams in the past two years than to any other fraud reported to the FTC. Romance scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps, or contact their targets through popular social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Google Hangouts.
The scammers strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day.
Con artists are eager to take advantage of people looking for love on dating sites. Here’s how to spot a scammer in your pool of matches.
Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. How this scam works Warning signs Protect yourself Have you been scammed? More information. Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact.
They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad.
What You Need to Know About Romance Scams
Attorney Byung J. This is a stark reminder that users of online dating websites should be aware of such scams and exercise extreme caution if asked for money by anyone online or over the phone. Wiley, Sr. According to U. Romance scams are a type of online fraud in which victims are targeted by individuals posing as potential paramours.
If you lost money or other possessions in a scam, report it to your local police too. Report Scams to the Federal Government. You can report.
In an imposter scam, a con artist will contact a potential victim and pose as a trusted individual, such as a friend, family member, law enforcement officer or government agency representative. The scammer will then request or demand money, claiming the victim will avoid some penalty or gain some benefit. While there are numerous legitimate, worthy charities doing great work, some scam artists seek to take advantage of the charitable spirit of others. Imposters will pose as representatives of a legitimate charity or promote a fictional charity in order to solicit funds, which they then pocket.
Be sure you know that the charity soliciting money is legitimate before donating. Check to see if the charity is registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at www. Imposters pose as individuals on dating sites, social media sites, or even in person in an attempt to connect with potential victims. These imposters may convince would-be victims that they have similar interests, run in similar social circles, have compatible values and goals, or otherwise attempt to forge an emotional connection.
Once the imposter has formed a connection with an individual, they claim they need money urgently to cover an emergency, deal with a family situation, take advantage of a business opportunity, recover from theft or a stolen identity, or to travel to meet them. Be wary of sending funds to a new friend or romantic interest. Prior to sending money, signing over property or providing gifts to a new friend, consult a financial advisor, attorney or a trusted friend or family member.
Imposters pose as law enforcement officers and call grandparents claiming that a grandchild is in jail.
5 Ways to spot an online-dating scammer
For years he used fake identities to charm women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then his victims banded together to take him down. By the spring of , Missi Brandt had emerged from a rough few years with a new sense of solidity. At 45, she was three years sober and on the leeward side of a stormy divorce.
She was living with her preteen daughters in the suburbs of St.
Scam artists are extremely skilled at using romance as a weapon, and they often invest weeks or months into weaving lies to enchant vulnerable men and women.
Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds. The elaborate con job started with an unidentified person stealing a Florida’s woman identity, the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation said in a statement. The scammer then used the stolen identity to befriend the year-old widower through an online dating service, and worked to steal his heart and his money.
The con artist said the investments would be repaid along with a percentage of the profits from the sale of the sculpture. Investigators haven’t had much success tracking down the scammer. Victims often wire funds overseas or to third-party transfer agents, making it difficult to get the money back and identify the con artist, said Andrew Stolfi, administrator for the Division of Financial Regulation. Read More. The Federal Trade Commission has warned that scams that prey on vulnerable people cost Americans more money than any other fraud reported to the agency.
While scammers are especially active on dating apps, they also prey on people on social media sites that aren’t generally used for dating, federal officials warn. Many victims of scamming have said it started with a Facebook message, the FTC says.
Looking for love online? Romance scammers steal your heart to steal your money
Online dating can be fun and convenient, but falling for a sweetheart swindle can be costly. Be wary of “friends” you meet online who develop a relationship with you only to con you out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Falling in love with a con artist has consistently been ranked as one of, if not, the most expensive scams for the victims who have shared their stories with Fraud.
It’s not hard to see why. Love is a powerful emotion.
Scam artists have found online dating apps and social media sites to be an incredibly effective means of manipulating the emotions of their victims to convince.
Army Criminal Investigation Command CID receives hundreds of reports a month from individuals who have fallen victim to a scam perpetrated by a person impersonating a U. Soldier online. Soldier who then began asking for money for various false service-related needs. Victims of these scams can lose tens of thousands of dollars and face a slim likelihood of recovering any of it. Victims may encounter these romance scammers on a legitimate dating website or social media platform, but they are not U.
To perpetrate this scam, the scammers take on the online persona of a current or former U. Soldier, and then, using photographs of a Soldier from the internet, build a false identity to begin prowling the web for victims. The most common scheme involves criminals, often from other countries — most notably from West African countries — pretending to be U. Soldiers serving in a combat zone or other overseas location.
These crooks often present documents and other “proof” of their financial need when asking their victims to wire money to them. Such scams, when they involve dating sites, pose a unique challenge in the fight against impostors and identity thieves, because on such sites a dating profile is often required to conduct a search for fake accounts. In addition, it is not possible to remove dating site profiles without legitimate proof of identity theft or a scam.