Ah, Valentine’s Day.
Love is in the air and Attorney General Ashley Moody says heartless scammers want your money, not your affection.
Romance scams prey on an a person’s desire for companionship. General Moody says imposters often pose as a person seeking love on dating sites, social media or even in person to gain trust—and ultimately swindle unsuspecting sweethearts.
“It’s a trick as old as cupid himself—seducing targets with flattery and attention to get to their wallets through their hearts” says Attorney General Moody. “As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, it is important to be alert for scammers who may attempt to trick those seeking companionship into thinking they have found their soulmates. So, remember to guard your heart, as well as your wallet, when seeking companionship this Valentine’s Day, especially online.”
According to the Federal Trade Commission, reports of money lost on romance scams over the last three years have skyrocketed.
The year 2020 resulted in a record-breaking reported loss of $304 million nationally in romance scams. This is a 50% increase from 2019 and a more than 400% increase since 2016.
Attorney General Moody issued a new edition to Scams at a Glance today that urges Floridians to follow these tips to guard against romance scams:
- When meeting someone new online, ask detailed questions;
- Seek the opinion of trusted friends and family members;
- Conduct a reverse image search to see whether the image of a love interest is connected to any other accounts under different names or with different information;
- Never establish a joint bank account with a new sweetheart, or provide access to existing accounts;
- Watch for typos or inconsistencies in speech patterns, personal information or stories shared in email, text or social media conversations.
- Never send money or gifts to someone who has not been met in person—even if they send money first; and
- Be aware that scammers may claim they need money urgently to travel to meet in person, take advantage of a business opportunity or deal with a family tragedy.
For more information about Romance Scams, view Attorney General Moody’s Scams at a Glance: Swindling Sweethearts brochure by clicking here.
Anyone who encounters a romance scam, or any other type of fraud, can file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office at MyFloridaLegal.com or at 1(866) 9NO-SCAM.
Cox Media Group