Online dating can be a great way to find your life partner — or even find your next fling! But a recent report by the FTC suggests that it’s also a great place for scammers to find their victims. According to the recent report, romance scams reached a record high in 2021, with reported losses exceeding $540 million. This is a 6x increase from 2017 and an 80% increase compared to 2020.
Romance scams increased for every age group in 2021. The increase was most evident for people ages 18 to 29 — for this group, romance scam reports increased more than tenfold from 2017 to 2021. But the reported median loss increased with age: people 70 and older reported the highest individual median losses at $9,000, compared to $750 for the 18 to 29 age group.
According to the government report, “Romance scammers are masters of disguise. They create fake online profiles with attractive photos swiped from the web. Sometimes they even assume the identities of real people. They may study information people share online and then pretend to have common interests. And the details they share about themselves will always include built-in excuses for not meeting in person. For example, many reportedly claim to be serving overseas in the military or working on an offshore oil rig.”
How to Protect yourself from Online Dating Romance Scams
There are a few easy steps to follow to protect yourself from online dating romance scams:
- Never send or forward money, cryptocurrency, or gift cards to people you meet online. The request to do so likely means they are trying to scam you.
- Don’t rely on social media accounts for verification. These platforms don’t require you to be a verified person to create an account, and scammers have become expert at building fake profiles.
- Create an account on Dentity, which requires verified identity information, and request the people you meet or interact with online do that same. Through Dentity, you can share verified, real information in a safe and privacy protected way.
Unfortunately, bad actors on the Internet aren’t going away — in fact, they’re increasing and finding new ways to scam online daters. Dentity offers a free, easy to use way to verify the age or identity of people you interact with online. Dentity is the safest way to share verified personal information online.
Join Dentity to protect yourself against online dating romance scams.