With so many online scammers out there, this valentine’s day or any other day, you may fall victim to romance scams anywhere in the United States if you’re not careful. Although these romance scammers are active all year round, it is the weeks leading up to Valentine’s day when they work full-time to take advantage of emotional people and their vulnerabilities. It is crucial to remain cautious about what you share online, as con artists are everywhere.
Ehline Law is a leading and superior personal injury law firm that has been helping protect the rights of Californians and Texans since 2005. In this article, Mike Ehline, Founder of Ehline Law, has some essential tips for Californians and Texans looking for love online to help them identify scammers and avoid becoming victims of romance scams.
The Federal Trade Commission, an independent agency that has protected America’s consumers for over 100 years, reported 79,700 reports of online romance scams, which totaled $547 million in financial losses, an average of $2,400 per victim. What’s shocking is that these figures are an 80% increase since 2020!
The most vulnerable to online romance scams are older people, especially those over the age of 70. In 2021, elderly people suffered financial losses of an average of $7,600 per victim. There was a case involving Borin Khoun, who scammed two older people from California and Arizona for $230,000 and, in June 2022, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of theft.
Online scammers create fake profiles on social media platforms and dating sites with attractive pictures to grab the attention of lonely men or women looking for love.
These scammers quickly let victims know they’re either serving in the military or outside of the country to avoid meeting the victims in person. Once they interact with the victims, they often take the conversation over email, moving away from social media platforms.
During email conversations, the scammer’s only goal is to gain the victim’s trust and friendship, while the victim keeps believing that there is some romantic connection between the two. Once they’ve earned their trust, the romance scammers ask the victims to share sensitive data, send money, perhaps for a flight ticket or visa, or to get them out of serious trouble.
Using a fake online identity, the scammers will ask the victims to wire them money or send gift cards or cryptocurrencies, which makes it extremely challenging to trace the money to the scammers, making it nearly impossible to get the money back.
Some romance scammers disappear immediately after the victims send money, while others stay a bit longer and continue to pry into the victim’s vulnerabilities and emotions in a bid to leech more money out of them.
Here are a few tips you should follow to avoid online romance scams:
If you’ve lost money to a scammer or believe that your online romantic partner may be a scammer, you may want to consider following the tips below:
Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.
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