Cupid may shoot his love arrows when Valentine’s rolls around, but cybercriminals are sending out hooks every day in hopes of catching another victim in a scam.
- In 2016, victims lost more than $220 million to romance scams alone, according to the FTC.
- Reports to the FBI about romance scams have tripled over 5 years (Source: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2018/02/ftc-warns-consumers-about-online-dating-scams)
This trend keeps growing year after year. Last year, I published this article about how lucrative this billion-dollar industry can be for a cyber criminal.
This year I’m keeping my advice simple: just talk, and listen, to your friends and family about this growing problem. Listen to get an idea what they’re doing. If you feel they may be spending too much time online chatting with someone, or you notice strange behavior that they have not shown before, try to take action. Remember your friend or loved one is an adult and free to make their own choices, but a conversation is a great place to start.
Check out these great sites for more info and prevention tips:
- Call for Action – https://callforaction.org/romance-scams-take-time-to-evolve/
- US Army Criminal Investigation – http://www.cid.army.mil/romancescam.html
- BBB Romance Scams – https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/17057-online-romance-scams-a-bbb-study-on-how-scammers-use-impersonation-blackmail-and-trickery-to-steal-from-unsuspecting-daters
- FBI Romance Scams – https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/romance-scams
- FTC Romance Scams – https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2015/07/faking-it-scammers-tricks-steal-your-heart-and-money?page=28
- Verafin Romance Fraud Scams – https://verafin.com/2017/07/romance-fraud-scams/
Have you been victimized?
Have you or someone you know been the victim of a romance scam? The cleanup process can be messy. Check out an option like WBT Protect to preserve your identity against further damage.
Have another thought, tip or suggestion? Leave it in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!