Skip. People looking for romance are hoping to be swept off their feet, not caught up in a scam.
Date with deceit
But tens of thousands of reports in Consumer Sentinel show that a scam is what many people find. Romance scammers lure people with phony online profiles, often lifting photos from the web to create attractive and convincing personas.
They might make up names or assume the identities of real people. For example, many people say the scam started with a Facebook message.
Once these fraudsters have people by the heartstrings, they say they need money, often for a medical emergency or some other misfortune. Pretending to need help with travel costs for a long-awaited visit is another common ruse.
Romance scams rank one on total reported losses
Scammers can reap large rewards for time spent courting their targets. People who said they were ages 40 to 69 reported losing money to romance scams at the highest rates — more than twice the rate of people in their 20s.
Among people who told us how they paid the scammer, the majority said they wired money. The next largest group said they sent money using gift and reload cards like Moneypakand reports of this type of payment increased in People said they mailed the cards or gave the PIN on the back to the scammer.
Con artists favor these payment methods because they can get quick cash, the transaction is largely irreversible, and they can remain anonymous. So what can singles do to play it safe while dating online?
Here are some tips to help spot bogus suitors:. Help stop these scammers by reporting suspicious profiles or messages to the dating or social media site. Census Bureau.
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Reports provided by MoneyGram, Western Union, and Green Dot are excluded as these data contributors report each transaction separately, which may affect the median loss. It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment.
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Pay attention if your friends or family are concerned. Take it slowly.
Ask questions and look for inconsistent answers. Try a reverse-image search of the profile pictures.
Learn more at ftc. Download in PDF format I Would Like To Stay Connected with the FTC.