According to the task force, the most prevalent recent frauds are romance scams. These frauds often begin on legitimate dating, social media, or professional networking sites and the victim believes they are dating someone without actually meeting in person. The scammers carefully build relationships and emotional attachments before asking for money to assist with a fictitious financial need. A common theme in these scams is a reason why the perpetrator is unable to meet in person. Excuses like being overseas for work, in the military, or even quarantined for health reasons. Romance fraud and other scams are also consistently used to recruit money mules — people who may unwittingly be used to illegally transfer money obtained through criminal activity.
FBI offers tips to avoid romance scams this February
FBI warns El Pasoans of romance scammers who are after your money
The FBI Boston Division is continuously working to raise awareness about online romance scams, also called confidence fraud. In this type of fraud, scammers take advantage of people looking for companionship or romantic partners on dating websites, apps, chat rooms, and social networking sites with the sole goal of obtaining access to their financial or personal identifying information. Romance scams are prevalent, especially during this time of year. Increased isolation brought on by the COVID pandemic has also resulted in more people looking for love online. The criminals who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do, said the FBI in a news release.
FBI warns of romance scams ahead of Valentine’s Day
The quest for finding love has been costly for those who have fallen victim to romance scams in recent years. Scammers frequent most dating sites and social media sites, often adopting a fake online identity to gain a potential victim's affection, the FBI said. Eventually, they will ask for money. Con artists will often claim to be working outside the U. Scammers often ask for money to pay for travel or medical expenses, of to pay for customs fees, and request it be sent through money wires or reloading banking or gift cards, the FTC said.
FBI officials in San Antonio are issuing a warning about the rise in romance scams this time of the year, especially since more people are working from home and spending more time online. The scammers will seem genuine, caring, believable and are prevalent on most dating and social media sites. They intend to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear himself or herself to the victim and gain trust, FBI officials said.