This story initially appeared on PC Magazine
Romance scammers are raking within the dough due to lonely singles caught at dwelling in the course of the pandemic.
In 2020, the scams duped individuals into giving up $304 million, a 50% improve from the earlier 12 months, in accordance to the US Federal Commerce Fee. The variety of studies the FTC obtained from romance rip-off victims additionally reached 32,792, up 30% 12 months over 12 months.
What didn’t change is how a lot the fraudsters typically extracted from unsuspecting victims. People gave up a median of $2,500, which is in line with losses reported in 2018.
Picture credit score: FTC
The scams normally contain a “too good to be true” profile on a courting app or a social media platform from somebody who tries to schmooze their method into your coronary heart. It’ll usually be loaded with photos of a beautiful particular person. However in actuality, it’s all a ruse to dupe you into sending cash to the pretend lover, normally through financial institution wire switch or by buying digital reward playing cards.
A purple flag for a romance rip-off is when the purported suitor comes up with causes for why they will’t see you in particular person. Sadly, COVID-19 has solely given the fraudsters seemingly reliable excuses to keep away from assembly up.
“The pandemic has each made that simpler and impressed new twists to their tales, with many individuals reporting that their so-called suitor claimed to be unable to journey due to the pandemic,” the FTC stated. “Some scammers have reportedly even canceled first date plans resulting from a supposed optimistic COVID-19 take a look at.”
The pandemic has additionally given the scammers another excuse to ask individuals for cash. In accordance with the FTC, some victims reported the fraudsters claimed that they had a medical emergency resulting from COVID-19.
Apparently, the romance scammers also can do the alternative and ship the victims cash. Nevertheless, the FTC says the despatched cash is normally laundered stolen funds from one other crime. “In reality, many reported that the cash they obtained and forwarded on turned out to be stolen unemployment advantages,” the regulator added.
Victims aged 20 to 29 noticed the most important improve in romance scams. Nevertheless, it was these over 70 who reported shedding probably the most cash, with the person median losses at $9,475.
The FTC has numerous tips about how one can defend your self from a romance rip-off. One noteworthy approach is to do a reverse picture search on the pictures of your suitors’ profile web page. This could reveal whether or not their pictures had been lifted from one other supply.