Listen to this real scam victim tell her story. It’s frightening, but very real. Unfortunately it is one of the most common scams gong on today. In 2021, people reported losing $547 million to romance scams. That’s more than six times higher than it was four years prior, at $87 million in 2017. The reported financial losses due to romance scams increased by nearly 80% from 2020 to 2021.

Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim. The scammers who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do and will seem genuine, caring, and believable. Be ware that con artists are present on most dating and social media sites. The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear himself to the victim, and gain trust.

Scammers may propose marriage and make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen. Eventually, they will ask for money. Scam artists often say they are in the building and construction industry and are engaged in projects outside the U.S. That makes it easier to avoid meeting in person—and more plausible when they ask for money for a medical emergency or unexpected legal fee. If someone you meet online needs your bank account information to deposit money, they are most likely using your account to carry out other theft and fraud schemes. Watch this video and learn more about romance scams. Please pass it along to anyone you may know going through a situation similar to what this victim describes. It may just stop a romance scam in its tracks.

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