FBI warns public to be wary of online ‘romance scams’


(Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) — The FBI is working to raise awareness about online romance scams, also called confidence fraud.

In this type of fraud, investigators say scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners on dating websites, apps, or social media by obtaining access to their financial or personal identifying information.

Romance scams are prevalent, especially during this time of year.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, which provides the public with a means of reporting Internet-facilitated crimes, romance scams result in the highest amount of financial losses to victims when compared to other online crimes.

In 2016, almost 15,000 complaints categorized as romance scams were reported to IC3 (nearly 2,500 more than the previous year), and the losses associated with those complaints exceeded $230 million.

The following tips may be helpful to consider if you develop a romantic relationship with someone you meet online:

  • Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere
  • Go slow and ask questions
  • Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or social media site to go “offline”
  • Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends

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