Looking for Love on the Internet Often Ends in Fraud

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Photo: Astra Production

According to a new set of dispiriting statistics, people looking for love online were the worst-hit victims of internet scams in the U.S. last year. The FBI’s annual online-fraud report found that people who reported being victims of romance scams were swindled out of a total of $82,315,378 — which comes out to a staggering average of about $14,000 each. These costly schemes often involve scammers mining dating sites and social media for personal information to initiate online relationships with their targets (in 70 percent of cases, women over the age of 40), and then inventing hardships like family tragedies or extreme life circumstances to ask for money.

A list of preventative tips included in the report warns people to “be cautious of individuals who claim the romance was destiny or fate, and that you are meant to be together,” and to “be cautious if an individual tells you they are in love with you and they cannot live without you, but they need you to send them money so they can visit you,” which seem like generally good rules of thumb.