Complaints of internet romance scams - which include the solicitation and transfer of money through cryptocurrency - are on the rise, according to the FBI.

John Stark, a cybersecurity expert, former Chief of Office of Internet Enforcement at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and author of “The Cybersecurity Due Diligence Handbook,” says the combination of online dating and cryptocurrency is ideal for scammers because cryptocurrency is unregulated, the transactions are difficult to trace, and those receiving the funds can easily disappear.

“You don’t know where it went to, and the authorities can’t help you. They can’t help you find any of that,” he says.

Why do people become vulnerable to online romance scams? Stark says, “It’s incredibly disheartening, but it’s not unusual. People believe things that they really, truly, want to believe.”

Watch the video above to hear more about the two main types of cryptocurrency scams. Then, tune in to the conclusion of this two-part Dr. Phil, “Part Two: Where is ‘Jonathan?’,” airing Tuesday.

Check your local listing to find out where to watch.

To report an internet romance scam or any cybercrime, contact your local FBI Field Office or file a complaint through the Internet Crime Complaint Center at For more information on romance scams and tips on how to avoid them, visit

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