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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Romance scammers stealing online profiles
May 27, 2021
Romance scammers stealing online profiles
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Romance Scammers Stealing Online ProfilesRomance scammers are stealing online profiles, and using them to defraud those looking for love.
It’s an underground economy that rakes in almost a half-billion dollars, destroys people emotionally, and is almost impossible to stop. We’re talking about romance scams.
Not only might someone you know fall for one, but your online profile can be stolen by these heartless criminals in an effort to defraud others.
You like to think you’re the one and only, but criminals are taking your image to defraud others in romance scams and they could create dozens of fake profiles all saying it’s “you” looking for love.
Since the start of the pandemic, law enforcement says over $300 million has been lost to romance scammers. However, only about 20 percent of victims report the crime so the losses may be closer to $500 million or more.
When the scammers make contact with a victim they want them “to start a bank account, send gift cards or put money in certain cards to keep talking.”
“These guys, just flower victims with attention and then go after the money.”
An innocent victim whose profile was stolen to create fake profiles to attract those looking for love says it has become a nightmare for him.
“It’s a constant barrage of people telling me I’ve been scammed, of people yelling at me for scamming them or of hearing people’s stories about how their money was taken,” he said.
The pandemic caused romance scams to explode as people spent more time online in isolation looking for companionship.
“People who lose money on average lose $16,000 a year,” however, only about 17 to 20 percent of people actually report money being lost because they’re embarrassed.”
How can you detect these scammers? First, don’t trust photos.
Victims stolen photos can be photoshopped onto other people’s passports and driver’s licenses, and look really good.
Other ways to protect yourself:
1. Don’t send money no matter what sob story you’re told
2. Take it slow / avoid snap decisions or commitments
If you believe you have been a victim of this type of scam you should promptly report it to the IC3's website at www.IC3.gov. The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration.
Remember - always watch for scams!
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