Cybercrooks Rake in $304M in Romance Scams
Romance scams have been the most successful fraud method for cybercriminals, according to the Federal Trade Commission. In 2020, romance schemes swindled unsuspecting victims out of a record $304 million, up 50% from 2019. The scams spiked during the Covid-19 pandemic, with fraudsters taking advantage of loneliness during quarantine protocol. The scammer typically creates a relationship with the target before eventually asking for money.
The fraud scheme begins with an online connection and turns into daily communications. The most common type of money transfer observed by the FTC was in the form of gift cards, which saw an 80% increase from 2019 to 2020. Many scammers will use excuses for requesting the money such as that it’s for a phone card to keep chatting, a medical emergency, or an urgent matter.
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