For Richer Or Poorer? Romance Scams Are Leaving More Online Daters Broke by Sasha Ann Simmons
There are actually several posts on this blog about online dating scams, check under “Related Posts” below – this isn’t my first or only post on this topic.
(Link): For Richer Or Poorer? Romance Scams Are Leaving More Online Daters Broke by S. Simmons
… Being scammed by a romantic interest met online is now the most common type of consumer fraud in the United States, according to the (Link): Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
In 2018, nearly 40 D.C. residents reported falling for online dating scams, for a combined loss of more than $92,000. And the criminal acts go beyond city and state borders, involving networks of accomplices overseas.
“These victims are invested in that relationship and they’re emotional when that person does ask for money,” says Kevin Luebke, a supervisory special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). “Usually they’re told that something sudden happened where [the offender] needs money now and that [victim] doesn’t have time to reason or ask friends.”
…[The article then discusses a 72 year old woman who had separated from her drug-addicted husband; she was was swindled out of six figures by an online boyfriend]
After separating from her husband who was addicted to drugs, Ann went online and started dating. That’s where she met Tony, a 60-something Italian man who, like Ann, was single later in life.
Tony told Ann that his wife and daughter died in a car accident, that he moved to London for business and that he was living in a hotel. The two connected, and Tony spent eight months wooing Ann with flower deliveries, poetry and compliments.
Then his luck changed.
“He said he had lost his wallet and had no way of paying the phone bill,” Ann says. “So, I would send $1,500 dollars a week. Sometimes I sent $3,000.”
Additional financial problems sprang up at random. And Ann says Tony continued to ask her for money, often appealing to her Christian faith to build sympathy — he sometimes ended phone conversations claiming to be late for Bible study classes.
“He actually convinced me to sell my condo. And I sent $50,000 twice,” Ann says.
….People ages 40 to 69 report losing money to romance scams at the highest rates — more than twice the rate of people in their 20s. At the same time, people 70 and over report the highest individual median losses — around $10,000.
…How To Spot A Romance Scam In The Making
“Be an investigator, yourself,” Luebke says. “When you meet a person online, “Look up their name and see what comes up. Does the story make any sense? Where are they located?” he advises.
Luebke says the internet crimes unit has been teaming up with (Link): AARP over the past few years to host “scam jams” in local communities. …
“Scammers often push to get their victims to communicate off dating websites in an effort to isolate them,” says Strat Maloma of the AARP Fraud Watch Network in a (Link): video about romance scams published ahead of Valentine’s Day last year.
Read the rest of that article (Link): here