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Florida 3rd in nation for romance scams. Nearly 1,500 people victimized | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

Romance scams, which begin when a criminal — or group of criminals working together — adopt a fraudulent online identity to form a social connection and gain their victim’s affection and trust, were reported by 70,000 people in 2022, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The total cost to those people was $1.3 million. The average loss, according to the FTC was more than $4,000.

Florida, where 1,474 people reported losses totaling $53.4 million in 2022, was ranked third in the nation for both the number of victims and the amount of money lost. Topping Florida were California at No. 1 and Texas with New York and Arizona rounding out the Top 5.

More:Is that cutie on Facebook the one? How to tell a lover from a scammer

Online dating and romance scams

10 signs your online suitor is a scammer

  • Serves in the military or travels internationally for work: They have jobs that offer a built-in excuse as to why they cannot meet.
  • Very good looking: If they look to good to be true, they likely are. Perform a reverse image search to verify their identity.
  • Let’s go somewhere we can be alone: Scammers quickly ask to move communications off the dating service or social media platfor.m where you met. They will want to contact you privately through your personal email or phone.
  • Love before first sight: Scammers profess love with unusual speed and after messaging for only a short period of time without having met in person.
  • Facetime, live chat, camera don’t work:  If the person keeps making excuses as to why they cannot video chat, it is a scam.
  • Terms of endearment: Scammers call you terms such as “sweetheart” and “honey” instead of using your name. This helps them avoid the risk of using the incorrect name while they juggle many victims.
  • Grammar really is important: Most romance scammers live in Nigeria, and while they speak English, their written grammar is generally poor.
  • Only you can help me: They claim to have a family, medical or travel-related emergency and can’t access their own funds. They ask for money in the form of crypto or gift cards, which are harder to trace. Anyone insisting that you help them by sending cryptocurrency, giving the numbers on a gift card, or by wiring money is likely a scammer. If someone tells you to send money to receive a package, it’s a scam.
  • The only luck they have is bad: One emergency follows another when you’re dealing with a scammer.
  • It’s just you and me: Scammers will request you tell your friends and family little about your relationship. Confide in people close to you and listen to their concerns.

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