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In 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received close to 15,000 reports of “romance scams,” amounting to more than 0 million in losses.
(That was 2,500 more reports than the previous year.) The states with the most victims were California, Florida, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania.
There are usually red flags and warning signs to look for.
A Texas woman in her fifties was trapped in an abusive marriage. He was having trouble completing a construction project in California and asked for a loan of ,000, which he promised to pay back right away. By the time her alarmed financial adviser convinced her to contact the FBI two years later, she had sent Charlie million – her entire life’s savings. Like other women seduced by a romance scam, the Texas woman was sick with shame and humiliation.
In figures from romancescam.org, which has 59,000 members, 1,813 members have reported more than ,891,837 in losses to romance scams – an average of more than ,430 in losses per victim. He was very positive, and I felt a real connection there.” As the romance progressed, Charlie confessed to some problems of his own.“There can’t be a man this horrible, to do what he did to me,” she told FBI investigators.Unfortunately, realizing you were scammed by an online suitor may not be the end of it.There have been cases where the fraudster re-targets the same victim by posing as law enforcement and promising to help the victim recover some of their stolen money.