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FBI: Americans Lost $1 Billion to Romance Scams in 2021

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

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Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

Highlights

  • Romance scams have been on the rise since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and cost Americans more than US$1 billion in 2021 alone.
  • Perpetrators mainly target women over 40 who are widowed, divorced, elderly or disabled.
  • “The victim just wants connection and companionship.
  • The bad guy generally wants cold hard cash,” the FBI warned.
  • Phishing attacks and social engineering, like romance scams, remain two of the most common crimes on the web.
  • With an elderly and often non-tech savvy population thrust into remote work, that type of crime has become all the more lucrative as many are reaching out for human connection online.