by Amy Kleinschmit, Chief Compliance Officer
It’s Valentine's Day, love is in the air, but that optimistic mood can take a terrible turn for people that fall victim to dating scams. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), in 2020 alone, people who experienced romance scams lost over $600M. Romance scammers target people looking for love on dating apps and social media.
Recently, five federal agencies announced they have joined forces to remind the public about the ongoing dangers of romance scams. Together they launched Dating or Defrauding?, a national awareness effort to alert the public to romance scams that target victims largely through dating apps or social media.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 2020 was a record year for romance scams. Consumer reports to the FTC indicate that the number of romance scam complaints continued to increase through 2021. A year-over-year comparison through the third quarter showed a 48 percent increase in reported romance frauds.
Take this opportunity to educate your members on how to recognize these types of scams before they become victimized. A number of resources are already available and more will be posted by the various regulatory agencies; the schedule can be found here.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a handout and placemat that can be shared with your community to raise awareness of these scams.
Some of the tips from the CFPB on how members can protect themselves from romance scams:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a number of resources that can be found here, including graphics, video, blog posts. Some tips the FTC provides if an individual suspects a romance scam:
The US Postal Inspection Office also has some great resources that can be shared to help members protect themselves and family and friends, including PSA videos and tips. One particular impactful video is an individual sharing the story of how his father fell victim to this scam and lost his life savings, or this video of a victim sharing her story. Here is another poster/handout that might be useful.
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