During the pandemic caused by covid-19, many people joined the use of social networking apps. The increase in users on the sites has made the number of so-called “romantic scams” – when scammers pretend to have a love interest to deceive partners – grow.
According to a report by the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 2020 saw record growth in economic losses caused by the increase in cases of romantic scams. At least 32,800 scams were reported last year, almost 31% more than in 2019. The losses from the scams reached about US $ 304 million, an increase of almost 51% compared to the previous year.
The report found that the financial loss of romantic scams increased in all age groups, with people 70 and older suffering the greatest financial losses. People aged 40 to 69, on the other hand, were the ones who most reported losses from this type of fraud.
How to prevent
In general, the scams happen as follows: the criminal creates an account in relationship apps and approaches the victim in order to create a bond. After a while and with a closer relationship, the scammer makes up a sad story and states that he will need money to be able to resolve the situation. During the pandemic, maintaining social isolation was the most common excuse used by criminals for not meeting the victim personally. When they get the value, they disappear and leave the financial loss.
According to Camilo Gutiérrez Amaya, head of the ESET Latin America Research Laboratory, an information security company, to protect yourself it is necessary to take some extra precautions on the internet. “It is important to always be vigilant and attentive to fake photos or quick promises of eternal love. In addition, keep systems up to date and have a security solution on devices to prevent malware from entering,” he says.