Previous | Business Identity Theft Can Be Costly to Victims Next | Protecting Your Business Debit Card
November 17, 2022 / The Merrill Anderson Company
Don't let scammers steal your heart and money

Don't let scammers steal your heart and money

The epidemic of financial fraud shows no sign of abating. Perhaps the saddest example is the “romance scam.” Reportedly some 30% of Americans have tried online dating. Too many have found fraudsters instead of soulmates, people who prey on the lonely to steal money and identities.A scammer spying on a couple

 

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), citizens have reported losing $1.3 billion to romance scams during the last five years, growing steadily from under $100 million in 2017 to about $550 million in 2021. It’s the largest category of online fraud, larger than identity theft or online shopping fraud. Because falling prey to a scam is so embarrassing, it is thought that many scams go unreported, so the actual losses could be far higher.

 

Scammers often go to great lengths to create a false identity. They might claim to be oil rig workers, in the military, doctors with an international organization, among other alluring vocations. They will be patient, grooming the target for many months, becoming familiar with the target’s social media accounts, before asking for money.

 

When the request finally comes, the money may be “needed” for emergency surgery, medical expenses, plane tickets, even to pay off gambling debts, according to the FTC.  The means of transfer is typically by wire transfer or by gift cards, because those are almost impossible to reverse and harder for the authorities to trace.

 

Not much is known about the victims of romance scams but, according to a recent item in The Wall Street Journal, women seem to be more vulnerable than men, most are older than 40, with the 50-59 age bracket having the most victims. Also, financial losses tend to be larger as the age of the victim increases.

 

Rule No. 1, per the FTC: Never send money to someone you haven’t met in person. However, that rule may not be sufficient, as the romance scammer sometimes will agree to face-to-face meetings. The FTC suggests doing a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture. If the results include other names or inconsistent personal details, a fraud is likely.

 

More romance scam information from the FTC can be found at https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/what-you-need-know-about-romance-scams.  For specifics on techniques that scammers use, see https://consumer.ftc.gov/consumer-alerts/2015/07/faking-it-scammers-tricks-steal-your-heart-and-money

 

 

 © 2022 M.A. Co. All rights reserved.

Recent Articles
Protecting Your Business Debit Card
Protecting Your Business Debit Card

Protecting Your Business Debit Card

November 24, 2022 / Ray Wills

Business Identity Theft Can Be Costly to Victims
Business Identity Theft Can Be Costly to Victims

Business Identity Theft Can Be Costly to Victims

November 10, 2022 / Ray Wills

IRS focus on digital assets
IRS focus on digital assets

IRS focus on digital assets

November 03, 2022 / The Merrill Anderson Company

How to gain financial flexibility with an equity line of credit
How to gain financial flexibility with an equity line of credit

How to gain financial flexibility with an equity line of credit

October 27, 2022 / Matt Berger

How one savings plan can help you save for college and retirement
How one savings plan can help you save for college and retirement

How one savings plan can help you save for college and retirement

October 13, 2022 / The Merrill Anderson Company

Four Things to Consider Before Retiring Early
Four Things to Consider Before Retiring Early

Four Things to Consider Before Retiring Early

October 10, 2022 / Warren Hurt

Is Mobile Banking Safe for My Business?
Is Mobile Banking Safe for My Business?

Is Mobile Banking Safe for My Business?

September 30, 2022 / Cynthia E. Marconi

Grandparent Scams Can Cost Victims Thousands of Dollars
Grandparent Scams Can Cost Victims Thousands of Dollars

Grandparent Scams Can Cost Victims Thousands of Dollars

September 22, 2022 / Ray Wills

Passkeys and the Future of Estate Planning
Passkeys and the Future of Estate Planning

Passkeys and the Future of Estate Planning

September 15, 2022 / The Merrill Anderson Company

Join our e-newsletter

Sign up for our e-newsletter to get new content each month.

NOTICE: YOU ARE LEAVING F&M TRUST!

You are now leaving the F&M Trust website. Links to third-party sites are provided for your convenience. Such sites are not within our control and may not follow the same privacy, security or accessibility standards as ours. F&M Trust neither endorses nor guarantees offerings of the third-party providers, nor is F&M Trust responsible for the security, content or availability of third-party sites, their partners or advertisers.