Fall in Love, Don’t Fall Prey: FBI Warns of Online ‘Romance Scams’ | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

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On the eve of Valentine’s Day, the FBI San Diego Field Office issued a warning Tuesday about so-called romance scams, a type of online crime that bilks money from people seeking relationships via the internet.

Confidence-fraud crimes, including romance scams, have wreaked among the highest amounts of financial losses when compared to other internet-facilitated offenses, according to the federal investigative agency. In 2022 alone, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 19,000 complaints about such criminal schemes, with reported losses totaling nearly $740 million.

Romance scams target people via online dating sites, seeking to make them believe they are in a special relationship and persuade them to surrender money or financial information to the perpetrators, according to the FBI. Victims also have been deceived into laundering money on behalf of the crooks, the agency reported.

The criminals who carry out romance scams typically target their marks via email and social media, with the intention of establishing bogus relationships and building misplaced trust as quickly as possible.

Romance scams also sometimes turn into cryptocurrency investment-fraud schemes, according to the FBI. These crimes start similarly to an online relationship, but instead of asking for cash, the perpetrators convince the victims to invest in cryptocurrency. The targeted people are then directed to websites that appear authentic but are controlled by the crooks. After making the purchases, victims discover that they cannot cash out their investments, and the perpetrators disappear along with the crypto.

For those interested in developing a relationship with someone they meet online, the FBI offers the following tips to avoid becoming a romance-scam victim:

  • If it does not feel right, it probably isn’t; trust your instincts
  • If you suspect an online relationship is a scam, stop all contact immediately
  • Do not give any personal information or money to anyone you have only communicated with by telephone or online
  • Be careful what you post online; scammers can use details shared via social media and dating sites to make themselves seem legitimate
  • If you are planning to meet in person someone you have only been in contact with online, proceed with caution, especially if you plan to travel to a foreign country to do so

Those who believe they have fallen victim to confidence fraud or know someone who may be a victim are advised to file a report online at or call the FBI San Diego Field Office at 858-320-1800.

More information on the topic is available at

City News Service contributed to this article.

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