Romance Scams are on the Rise
In the US in 2021, reported romance scams cost consumers a whopping $1 Billion according to the FBI and in Canada, they cost consumers almost $69 million according to the CAFC – and it’s important to note that these numbers go largely underreported.
Did you know?
In 2021, over 320 + million people used dating apps globally, compared to 240 million in 2016.
With more people socializing online since the global COVID-19 pandemic, romance scammers have increased their tactics to take advantage of this trend. Here’s some of warning signs to help you, a friend or a family member determine if a potential online mate might be a romance scammer:
1. They generally won’t meet you in person
- You might find yourself showing up at places to meet them and there’s always a last minute excuse as to why they can’t be there.
- But, beware, as some culprits have made careers out of scamming people in person to financial ruin, notably the Tinder Swindler, who was recently popularized in the Netflix documentary. If you do end up meeting them in person and it sounds too good to be true, use caution when moving forward in the relationship.
2. They won’t do a video chat or if they do, their video is inconsistent
- With the rise of deep fakes, romance scammers are getting more sophisticated with today’s technologies to keep their scams alive. If you suspect the person is using deep fake technology, then ask them to turn their head to the side, as this will throw the technology off and reveal that it’s fake.
3. The potential scammer starts to isolate you from your friends and family
- This is a common tactic used in romance scams so that the cybercriminal can better take advantage of you to get what they want.
4. They start to ask for money
- At first, the asks might start out very small around $50 or $100 to pay for a bill, but once the scammer has succeeded, they will continue to ask for more and in larger increments. Over time, this could cost thousands of dollars or even hundreds of thousands of dollars leading to financial ruin. In 2021, the average reported romance scam cost was USD $41K according to the FBI.
- And when they ask for money, it’s always a dramatic or pressing situation that requires immediate payment. The romance scammer will also be very specific about how you pay them, potentially in gift cards or untraceable methods like cryptocurrency.
5. The potential romance scanner asks for sensitive personal information and inappropriate photos of you
- Use caution, especially if you have not met them in person. While this could be a normal part of courting someone in today’s technology era, these could be used to extort or blackmail you in the future.
At BOXX Insurance, our purpose is to make the world a digitally safer place. Our Cyberboxx Home™ product covers fraud, identify theft and cyberbullying which can be associated with a romance scam.