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SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS.™ Insight: Romance ScamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. Led All Consumer FraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. In 2018

Overall Romance Scams Are Still Below The Record Year Of 2016, But Reporting Is Up Making It Look Higher

According to CNN:

Scams that prey on people’s loneliness and emotional vulnerability cost Americans more money than any other fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission in 2018.

More than 21,000 people were tricked into sending money to their supposed sweetheart last year — to the tune of $143 million, the FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov said in a report this week. The number has been steadily climbing the last couple of years.

For instance, the 2018 losses are almost quadruple that of 2015 figures.

The victims who were swindled most often? Those between the ages of 40 and 69.

Of Course, We Know That Is Wrong

Scams prey on all age groups, with Millennials now being the fastest-growing demographic according to SCARS|ANALYTICS. Teenage victims are also exploding thanks to Sextortion variations of Romance Scams.

How these scams work

Romance scammers often create attractive, fake profiles on social media and dating platforms to cultivate online relationships and persuade targets to send money in the name of love. They’ll often claim they need money for some sort of emergency or to cover travel expenses.

Kathy Stokes is the director of fraud prevention programs for AARP, a nonprofit that empowers people 50 and older.

She told CNN that the phony profiles typically depict “extraordinarily good looking” people or military officers. Over the course of weeks or months, the scammers build up to asking for money.

Most of the victims said they wired money to scammers, although some also sent gift cards.

On average, targets of romance scams reported a median loss of $2,600, which is higher than any other type of consumer fraud. The median jumped to $10,000 for people over age 70, the FTC said.

One of the most egregious cases Stokes heard of was a woman who met a man online and ended up wiring him $50,000 on eight separate occasions. They never met in person, but he told her he needed funding to ensure a business deal succeeded.

How to avoid falling prey:

As online dating becomes more popular, the FTC warns people to become suspicious of any online relationship if:

  • the person wants to leave the dating site immediately and use personal email or messaging
  • the person is fast to claim love
  • they say they’re traveling or working internationally