A recent study from Comparitech.org, a pro-consumer website focused on cyber security and privacy online, shows that nearly 100,000 Americans are set to lose over $800 million to romance scams this year. Their findings forecast a 59% increase in the number of romance scams in 2022 and attribute the increase to the ongoing pandemic and scammers preying on people isolated at home.
Love may be in the air this month, but people should be cautious if they meet that special someone online. Most romance scams follow a distinct and recognizable pattern, and the people who get scammed are often intelligent, well-educated people.
“One of the most popular romance scams usually includes the scammer, who claims to live overseas or travel frequently either for business or military service, befriending someone online, and pretending to be a potential love interest,” said Patrick Kearney, Assistant Vice President of Fraud/Security at One Nevada Credit Union. “After gaining the victim’s trust, they then ask for money for an emergency, hospital bill, or travel expenses so they can visit the person they are scamming. If a victim sends money, it’s lost forever.”
“It gets worse,” added Kearney. “The scammer will usually promise to return the money or pay the victim back, they’ll ask for banking account information to make a deposit and then they clean out the victim’s account and disappear. There is a real pattern when it comes to romance scams. If you watch the new hit Netflix Docuseries ‘Tinder Swindler,’ you can see the same patterns and red flags we’ve been sharing with the community.”
Romance Scam Red Flags
It’s likely a romance scam when someone:
- Professes love quickly.
- Claims to be overseas and cannot come to visit.
- Asks for money for an emergency or other needs.
- Promises to pay the victim back (all they need is an online banking login).
- Requests money be wired or loaded to a gift card.
If you or someone you know falls victim to a romance scam, One Nevada urges you to stop all payments, block credit and debit cards, and change online banking login credentials. Then report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission as well as the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
To learn more about identifying and avoiding this costly and heart-wrenching crime visit onenevada.org/romancescam.
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One Nevada Credit Union is one of the largest locally owned, federally insured credit unions in the state. It is also one of the strongest, well-capitalized financial institutions in the country. One Nevada specializes in serving Nevadan’s personal financial needs and serves 78,000 members, has 15 branches, and offers 46,000 surcharge-free ATMs through the Allpoint Network. Membership is open to all residents of Washoe, Clark, and Nye counties. One Nevada is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration, a U.S. Government Agency. Learn more at https://www.onenevada.org.