Online dating scammers have bilked lonely hearts out of $1 billion, BBB says – Chicago Tribune

Looking for love online can leave you with a depleted handelsbank account spil well spil a cracked heart .

An estimated 82,000 U.S. consumers who’ve used dating sites te the past three years have bot scammed by individuals who shower them with compliments, romantic text messages and promised dates, only to bilk them for money, the Better Business Bureaumeubel said Tuesday.

The schemes can take months to play out spil the scammer gains the victim’s trust, eventually asking for petite amounts of money.

Scammers have bilked victims of almost $1 billion since , according to the group’s probe.

The schrijftafel undertook the examine when it noticed an increase ter complaints about online dating scams, said Steve Bernas, voorzitter and CEO of the Better Business Lessenaar of Chicago and Northern Illinois. Bernas estimated the bureaumeubel hears about only Ten procent of the online dating scam cases. “Most consumers don’t come forward to complain because they are embarrassed or devastated,” he said.

There’s no “typical” victim of romance fraud, according to the report. “The common denominator is that they are seeking a loving relationship and they believe they have found it,” the report said.

The FBI’s Internet Fraud Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission estimate that so-called romance fraud causes the greatest dollar loss of any fraud or scam that affects individuals, with the exception of investment fraud. Both agencies estimate that last year alone, 32,279 people were victims of online romance scams, losing $351.Four million.

To avoid becoming a victim, Bernas said online daters should beware of matches who quickly ask to take the conversation offline to text or Skype. He also recommends that online daters never send money or any individual information to someone they haven’t met ter person.

Daters should always ask questions about specific details te profiles. For example, if someone is claiming to be a member of the military, ask for their military address and email domain. Always, the report said, be wary of discussions of marriage early te the relationship.

Romance fraud happens on every online dating webpagina, Bernas said. “There’s no webpagina that is 100 procent safe. Scammers are everywhere, they go where people are.”

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