Romance scams are at their highest level in 2023, indicating that cybercrime is worsening. There are so many things we might not be able to complete without the internet, whether it’s for work or personal matters. It has become such a part of our daily lives that we can’t even imagine going through the day without it. Unfortunately, as our communication habits and virtual reality are becoming more interconnected, so are the risks and criminal offenses that come with it in online dating. Many studies suggest that women are still more vulnerable to romance scams than other genders.
We have collected some top informative online scam statistics and simple, yet effective, safety tips to help you stay protected – whether you’re online to meet friends or date.
Romance scams are one of the most common types of insurance scams. Usually, someone else establishes an email connection with the target, who then deceives them into handing over their money or possessions. Victims of romance frauds are tricked into surrendering their wages or belongings as a result of a deception hoax. In most instances, the scammer will create a fake Facebook account to approach those looking for love. After establishing a friendship with the victim over weeks or months, the hacker will then ask for money. The scammer will then ask for credit card or bank info, claiming to be in a terrible position and in need of help.
According to Scamwatch, 33.8% of all losses occurred through bank transfers. “Other payment methods” such as Google Play, iTunes, Steam, and other platform’s gift cards were responsible for 30.8% of losses. The FTC corroborated these findings in America, stating that gift card romance scams increased by 70% in 2020. According to the FTC, scammers’ preferred method of obtaining money from victims is requesting gift cards. However, the maximum losses recorded in cryptocurrency in 2021 came from payments that resulted in a $139 million loss, with a median loss of $9,770, according to the FTC. Victims primarily sent physical gift cards by mail, but they also provided pin numbers for digital gift cards, according to the FTC.
In 2018, the FTC released a report about elder abuse, revealing that romance scams affected older people the most. Victims over 60 lost over $80 million, and victims over 80 lost almost $4 million. According to the FTC, people over 70 suffered the highest individual median losses in 2020, at $9,475 each. That year, victims between the ages of 20 and 29 also saw a substantial rise. According to the FTC, twice as many people were scammed by romance scams in 2020 than in 2019.
Unfortunately, there is a region of the US where the most people got scammed out of their money from romance scams – California; where $120 million in losses were recorded. The highest number of people were duped in romance/confidence scams in California this year, where 3,110 people were tricked.
Romance scams were reported to have caused more than $300 million in losses, a sum nine times higher than the $33 million recorded five years earlier.
According to the survey, 30% of singles think that one of their close family or friends is at risk of falling for a romance scam, whereas only 11% think that they themselves are at risk. When it comes to scams in general, 30% report that one of their family members lost money as a result, and as many as 31% report that they have been scammed themselves or have provided financial information that they later regretted.
We hope you’ve found these latest statistics helpful because let’s face it; who wants a romance to end in cybercrime?