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Pandemic Related Romance Scams Are Officially a Multi-Dollar Industry

Scammers are preying on the lonely and vulnerable during the pandemic and this has rapidly become a multi-million-dollar industry. One study conducted by the FBI and Socialcatfish.com indicated that COVID-19-related romance scams have generated more than $200 million over the past year. With Valentine’s day right around corner, here are 7 extreme romance cyber reports over the past year:

  1. Devastated and lonely after the loss of her husband to cancer in 2017; not to mention the isolation brought on by the pandemic. Here’s a classic story of love found online that ended in a $25,000 scam.
  2. Covid, Aging Parent Loneliness And What You Can Do To Stop The ‘Sweetheart Scam’
  3. By the time she realized the person she was talking to was not the man she’d seen in pictures she’d refinanced her home and lost nearly $250,000 trying to support him.
  4. After a month of intense emailing and a few romantic calls, Yvonne’s boyfriend needed money for essential rig parts. She happily transferred US$5,160.
  5. Long story short, after months of connection D’Antonio gave “Matthew” money. She says she didn’t want his 5-year-old son to be stranded while on an international trip.
  6. Penny Ward was scammed out of £500 and Elizabeth lost £30,000 from the SAME man who used the same photos and back story to woo the women at around the same time.
  7. Fort Stewart woman’s social media images stolen by online dating scammers

Here Are Tips To Protect Yourself Online From Romance Scams

  1. Only use reputable, nationally recognized dating websites. However, be aware that scammers may be using them too.
  2. Research photos and profiles in other online search tools and ask questions (you can Google image search a photo).
  3. Never provide your financial information, loan money, or allow your bank accounts to be used for transfers of funds.
  4. Do not allow someone to convince you to isolate yourself from family and friends.
  5. Do not blindly believe the stories of severe life circumstances, tragedies, family deaths, injuries, or other hardships geared at keeping your interest and concern.
  6. If you’re planning to meet someone in person you have met online, meet in a public place and let someone know where you will be and what time you should return home.
  7. If you’re traveling to a foreign country to meet someone, check the State Department’s Travel Advisories beforehand, provide your itinerary to family and friends, and do not travel alone if possible.
  8. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
  9. Never share usernames, passwords for your private accounts.
  10. If the request is from someone familiar, call them to verify the request. Don’t just take a social media message at face value.

For more information regarding cybersecurity solutions for your GTA business, email sales@pacetechnical.com. You can also book a short 15-20 minute Q & A phone session here.

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