Online Romance Scams Cost Victims Thousands

By Susan Tompor
Detroit Free Press

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Susan Tomper takes a look at how easy it can be to fall victim to an online scam when you are looking for love, friendship or a deep desire to connect.

Detroit Free Press

Although Valentine’s Day candy is nearly gone from store shelves, romance –– and the scams that go with it –– goes on year-round.

Last year, people reported losing $143 million to romance-related scams –– more than any other type of scam reported to the Federal Trade Commission.

The median loss is $2,600. Those ages 70 and older reported a median loss of $10,000. Some individuals reported losing $100,000 or more.

Victims aren’t just losing their life savings. Some are taking on new debt in the name of love ––home equity loans, new credit cards and even payday loans to solve somebody else’s crisis, medical emergency or business trouble.

“It’s amazing how deeply they get into your head and your heart with Facebook messages,” said Eric Larson, 54, who lives in northern Montana and was caught in a romance scam for much of last year.

It started when a woman sent him a friend request on Facebook in January 2018. He didn’t know her, but she was nice. She showed pictures of herself dressed up when she was going to church.

Larson, who had divorced after a 20-year marriage, was home after sustaining an injury at work and dealing with other medical issues.

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