Online dating is a great way to meet people and often leads to love, but what happens when the person you’re chatting with isn’t who they say they are? Romance scams involve a fraudster pretending to be someone they’re not to gain your affection and trust in order to solicit money from you. In 2018, romance scams accounted for the second-highest financial loss reported to the FBI/IC3 with $362,500,761 in total losses. Anyone can become the victim of a romance scam at any age. According to the FTC, people ages 60-69 reported losing money to romance scams at the highest rates, while the 70+ age group reported the highest individual median losses at $10,000. If you think you may be experiencing a romance scam, we’re here to help. We’ve listed action steps towards recovery.
First, stop all contact with the scammer.
This can be an emotionally difficult step in recovering from a romance scam but is ultimately necessary to ensure your personal security. Block any accounts the scammer could potentially reach you on. If you are experiencing emotional distress, reach out to a friend, family member, or counselor for support in this process.
Report financial losses to your bank.
You should close any compromised accounts as soon as possible. Freeze your line of credit if necessary. Once you’ve reported to your financial institution, report the incident to the FBI/IC3. The FBI/IC3 reporting process helps collect national data to provide law enforcement and government officials with cyber-threat data. This report helps give state/local officials and law enforcement a better chance of decreasing cybercrime.
Report it to the dating site.
Report the individual to the dating site that you found them on.
Remember, anyone can experience cybercrime and online fraud at any age, know that you are not alone. CSN is here to help!
This blog was written by Taryn Porter, a past CSN employee.