Romance & a Different Kind of Loss — Scammers

A lot of us have seen the Netflix documentary, the Tinder Swindler. It’s about the guy who pretended to be the son of a billionaire. Through a bunch of different scams, he managed to get dozens of women to cough up huge sums of money to “help” him out of a crisis.

The cost to the women enticed by all that opulence and wanting to get into his life hit close to $10 million. It’s one kind of proof that, as a species, we tend to be in love with love. A great example is how a few weeks ago many of us celebrated Valentine’s Day with gifts, dinners, flowers, special trips and lots of love.

We tend to love love but — sadly — so do scammers.

Data released on Valentine’s Day by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says more of us than ever are buying the love lines of professional romance scammers. Looking at the numbers from 2021, the FTC says lonesome lovers, and others seeking friendship and love, lost $547 million.

That’s close to an 80% jump from 2020. Yes, you read that number correctly. The FTC isn’t explaining the jump but maybe the extra free time we got because of the pandemic had something to do with the increase.


Whatever the reason, losses in the last five years have totaled $1.3 billion. The truth of the matter is this, scammers use pictures stolen from the Internet and other tricks to build a false life. Unlike the Tinder documentary guy, most have no intention of meeting the person they intend swindling. What they want is money and eventually, the request happens.

Average cash losses to the not-so-savvy victim is $2,400.

Most of these criminals — guys and ladies — hang around dating sites, or some sort of social media application like Facebook. And they use a number of ways to get that money. The $547 million mentioned earlier is cash in the U.S. However, the biggest losses of 2021 — $139 million — came in the cryptocurrency.

The $139 million is five-times the losses of 2020. In 2021, the median cryptocurrency loss hit $9,770. The big hit came from gift cards. In 2021, one in four got tagged by scammers in that manner and losses in that area totaled $36 million.  

By the way, all age groups got hit by scammers and totals were up in 2021 for all of them. Hardest hit were those age 18 to 29. Their increase was ten times the 2020 losses. Median losses for the group totaled $750.

When it comes to cash, the 70 and older group seemed to be the easiest targets and median losses in that category was $9,000.

Source link: Insurance Journal —

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