Online relationship scams are growing at an exponential rate; Learn how to protect yourself.
Many people these days meet new friends or love interests online. Sometimes it’s by intentionally seeking relationships on dating sites or apps, while other times it’s a matter of meeting someone on social media or in a chat room, and it turns into an online relationship. Enter the fraudster, who builds trust through this means for the sole purpose of stealing money from victims.
How It Works:
Scammers in these scenarios typically are quick to get their victims to continue their conversations through personal email or instant message, like texting. They are quick to profess love. Eventually – and it may be months in, the request for money will occur. Maybe it’s to buy a plane ticket to meet you in person, or a business opportunity, or a medical emergency.
Just this month, our AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline heard from a victim who was contacted with a friend request on Facebook. The relationship continued by phone and text for several months. Earning the victim’s trust and love, the scammer stole $5,000 from his victim and disappeared.
Another victim met her scammer on a popular matchmaking site. The “love interest” convinced her over time that he was from Norway and he eventually asked for money for a project on an oil rig. The victim realized it was a scam on Christmas, when her “love interest” did not show up as promised. By then, she had already lost $530,000 to his scam.
What You Should Know:
What You Should Do:
When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.
P.S. Spotted a scam? Tell us about it. Our scam-tracking map gives you information about the latest scams targeting people in your state. You’ll also find first-hand accounts from scam-spotters who are sharing their experiences so you know how to protect yourself and your family.
This story is provided by AARP Montana. Visit the AARP Montana page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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