Valentine’s Day is a significant day for many people worldwide.
In the run-up to “heart’s day,” many will take on the role of Mr. Cupid – the chubby winged angel – except his arrows of love will not only break your heart, but also your wallet.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning against scams that will leave you not only with a bleeding heart, but also with financial devastation.
Just days before Valentine’s Day, the FBI’s San Francisco field office issued a warning to the public about an increase in romance scams based on complaints filed with the agency’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
A romance scam entails the creation of phony accounts and duping unsuspecting investors – both men and women – into transferring funds under the pretense of emotional intimacy.
There have been reports of romance scams in every county within the San Francisco FBI division’s jurisdiction.
Santa Clara, San Francisco, and Alameda counties had the highest dollar amounts stolen.
Valentine’s Day Tragedy: Falling Into The Trap
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Last year, reports of romance scams increased across all age groups. According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the increase was most noticeable among people aged 18 to 29.
Between 2017 and 2021, the number of reports for this age group increased more than tenfold.
However, the median loss reported by individuals increased with age: those aged 70 and older reported median losses of $9,000, compared to $750 for those aged 18 to 29, the FTC said.
Recently, romance scammers have been convincing people to send money in order to invest in or trade cryptocurrency.
Romance fraud occurs when a criminal creates a fictitious online identity in order to win a victim’s affection and trust.
These con artists are experts at disguising themselves. They create bogus online profiles using attractive stock photos from the internet.
The scammer then manipulates and/or steals from the victim by creating the illusion of a romantic or close relationship.
The FTC Report: Crypto Partly To Blame For Scam
According to reports to the FTC, online dating provides one of the best opportunities for scammers.
Love is in high demand among scammers as well, and that’s a very serious problem.
The report, released Thursday ahead of Valentine’s Day, notes that cryptocurrency is at least partly to blame for the rise of this particular kind of online trust scam.
People have reported losing an astounding $1.3 billion to romance scams over the last five years, more than any other type of FTC fraud.
The numbers have risen dramatically in recent years, and 2021 was no exception – reported losses totaled a whopping $547 million.
These unscrupulous personalities concoct a variety of plausible stories in order to dupe people, but their tried-and-true narrative involves repeated pleas for assistance while claiming one health or financial emergency after another.
Therefore, exercise caution when it comes to romance. You never know when or how it will strike.
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