The FBI is putting out a warning about romance scams, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Looking for love through social media or a dating site can be romantic, but it also can be scary and a breeding ground for scams. The FBI said that in 2022 alone, it received 19,000 of complaints about scams — with victims losing nearly $740 million.
And those are just the complaints that the FBI received. There are undoubtedly more victims out there who never report what happens to them to law enforcement.
In the so-called “romance scams,” the FBI says scammers troll social media sites to get information on their victims, then will strike up a conversation with a target, slowly trying to gain their trust. That’s when they will describe an emergency requiring financial help.
Victims range in age from college students to a recent case involving an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor, who the FBI said lost $2,8 million in a romance scam.
“Of most concern to us are seniors. They may be living on fixed incomes or they’re isolated or lonely,” said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Steven Shapiro.
So how can you look for love without getting scammed? The FBI has a list of tips that can help protect you:
- Think twice before sharing personal information online
- Only use well-known dating sites
- Beware of attempts to isolate you — and if the other person finds excuses to continually not meet you in person, it’s another red flag
- Never send money to anyone you don’t know
- Never help move money to someone you don’t know personally, through your account
Anyone who suspects a scam should report it to the FBI at ic3.gov.
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