That's how much one study is estimating Americans will lose to romance scams in 2022. With Valentine's day right around this corner, now is the time scammers will up their game and target those looking for love.
Thanks to the popularity of online dating, it's much easier for scammers to pose as someone looking for romance, but instead, just be after your money. According to the FBI, romance scams result in one of the highest amounts of financial losses.
Comparitech, an online security website broke down these crime statistics, and in North Carolina, more than $23 million was lost to romance scams in 2021. The company claims, due to the COVID pandemic, the number of people getting caught up in romance scams is only getting worse. The group estimates a 59% increase in the number of romance scams by the end of this year, compared to last year.
The Better Business Bureau continues to hear from victims who get fooled by scammers claiming to be in the military or working overseas. Mallory Wojciechowski with the BBB of Eastern North Carolina says, "They often will steal photos and texts from real profiles, real accounts, and they work to build your trust. That's what they work to do. So they work to build your trust."
To prevent being a victim, with any picture, you can do a reverse image search on google to see if their pictures are being used elsewhere.
Look for spelling and grammatical errors during your communication and be leery of any hard-luck story. Another red flag is when they continue to postpone the meeting and blame it on financial issues and need your help.
The minute they ask for money or for you to buy gift cards and read the numbers off the back, that's also a big red flag that something is not right.