Looking for love online comes with risks. Many have fallen victim to romance scams, where an online imposter known as a catfish tries to win love — or money — by preying on the most vulnerable individuals.
According to FBI statistics, there were about 4,000 online love scams reported in 2012 and 6,400 (about a 40-percent increase) in 2013. The total dollar loss in 2013 alone reached $81 million. Experts say most of these cases go unsolved, because the problem is so prevalent. Education is the best prevention.
Be sure to study the following methods typically used by online love scammers:
If anyone asks you for money, and you’ve never met them face to face, consider that a major red flag. Click here for more romance scam warning signs. If you believe you’ve been the victim of an Internet scam, go to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center for more information.
- Sick children
- Money/credit cards stolen
- Frozen bank accounts
- Ship wrecked
- Stopped at the airport
- Lost/stolen passport
- Expired visa or passport
- Beaten up on way to airport
- Stuck in foreign country until taxes paid
- Attorney fees