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Gegli news - Looking for Love Online? Advice To Protect Your Wallet - 7/27/2022 8:28:21 PM 8:28:21 PM 

Awareness of cyber security is not only a necessity for Internet businesses and organizations


Cybersecurity awareness is not just a necessity for businesses and internet-facing organizations. Consumers, especially lonely hearts experiencing life’s so-called golden years, are prime targets for romance scams and fraud assaults.

Research shows that romance scams are at an all-time high. Even younger folks who share too much about their affairs of the heart on dating sites and social media could become ripe targets for love scams and fraud.

The FBI defines romance scams as situations in which a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim. Romance scammers are experts at seeming to be genuine, caring, and believable.

These con artists lurk on most dating and social media sites. They are eager to take advantage of the lonely who now fill cyberspace, warns AARP. Seeking romantic bliss online can have a major financial downside, noted a recent AARP advisory for consumers over the age of 50.

Three in 10 U.S. adults have used a dating website or app, notes a Pew Research Center report called Project Might. That includes one in five Americans ages 50 to 64. Clearly, some people looking for romance online put themselves in easy reach of cyber-romance thieves.

Social media is prime hunting grounds for romance fraudsters. Phony suitors in growing numbers reach out to potential victims they spot on Facebook or Instagram, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Complaints about romance scams the FTC fielded jumped from 11,235 cases in 2016 to 52,593 in 2020.

Reported losses topped $300 million, a nearly fourfold increase over the same period. It seems the older the romance target, the heavier the financial toll, according to the FTC. The median individual loss from a romance scam for people 70 and over was $9,475 compared to $2,500 across all age groups.

Another danger with romance scams is that they can lead the victim into potentially criminal actions as well. International criminal gangs use dating sites to recruit unwitting “money mules” to launder ill-gotten funds through their bank accounts or other means.

For example, the FBI in September 2021 reported a rising trend of romance fraudsters enticing their sweetheart targets to make fraudulent cryptocurrency investments.

Romance scams cost Americans almost $350 million last year, according to Edvardas Garbenis, cybersecurity researcher and publisher at Atlas VPN. The drastic social changes imposed since the pandemic may be a major cause.

“Telling people to avoid online dating in times of isolation is not going to work. However, all of us can do our best to educate ourselves and others about the dangers that lurk online,” he told TechNewsWorld.

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