By Taylor Twelford | Washington Post
Love is a scam. No, really: romance scams have skyrocketed in the past few years and are now the most common kind of consumer fraud — and the most costly, according to a report released this week by the Federal Trade Commission.
These predatory schemes often unfold online, on dating sites and social media alike, with the fraudster going to great lengths to connect with someone to extract money from them. Scammers will make fake profiles, concoct elaborate backstories or even impersonate real people to appear more convincing. Then they’ll try to cash in on their connection, using tall tales about medical emergencies or personal misfortune. But the damage extends far beyond financial loss.
“I am a smart woman with decades of successful working experience. I have made mistakes in my life but nothing like this,” wrote a 63-year-old victim of a romance scam who shared her story with AARP. “The ripple effects have been so devastating and I have to deal with them almost every day of my life.”
The FTC received 21,368 reports of romance scams in 2018, up from about 13,000 reports the previous year. Losses from romance scams have increased fourfold since 2015, and the really unlucky in love were swindled out of $143 million in 2018, according to the report.
Older people are more likely to be targeted in romance scams and also report greater financial losses. Victims between the ages of 40 and 69 lose money at double the rate of younger ones. Elderly victims are generally the most vulnerable — individual median losses for people over 70 were $10,000. The median individual loss across all ages was $2,600.
Some scams stretch over months or even years, making the betrayals emotionally devastating as well as financially. Even after the hoaxes are exposed, victims must …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World