According to the FBI, romance scams and similar confidence scams cost consumers more money than any other kind of Internet fraud.
In 2015, the last year for which data is available, consumers lost more than 0 million this way.
Here are six things to keep in mind to help you spot and avoid scammers on online dating sites.
Anyone can be the target and victim of these scams—men, women, young, old, gay, straight, white, black, Asian, Hispanic… But the FBI states that women who are “over 40, divorced, widowed, and/or disabled” are prime targets for scammers.
It can happen like this: “Maria” signed up for an online dating service and was contacted by “Andrew,” who claimed to be an American overseas on business in Australia.
Interestingly, the AARP says that men fall victim to these scams more often, but that women are more likely to report the scam.(It is estimated that only 15 percent of fraud victims report their losses to law enforcement, so the real numbers are probably higher.) As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about. “Most people think the victims are middle-aged women who can't get a date, but I have worked with men and women of all ages—doctors and lawyers, CEOs of companies, people from the entertainment industry—who you’d never think in a million years would fall for these scams but do,” says Barb Sluppick, who runs romancescams.org, a watchdog site and online support group.According to the Consumer Reports 2016 Online Dating Survey of more than 114,000 subscribers, among the respondents who were considering online dating but were hesitant, 46 percent said they were concerned about being scammed. “Typically the scammer builds trust by writing long letters over weeks or months and crafting a whole persona for their victims,” says Unit Chief David Farquhar from the Financial Crimes Section of the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) who specializes in cyber-related crimes.Spotting Discrepancies Reading or Listening Between the Lines Beware Speed Community Q&A Online dating scams are rife. You do not have to be rich and you do not have to be stupid.You just have to be looking for love, a search that causes you to be more vulnerable than usual.