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Victim advocates say the true cost of romance scams is probably much higher than official estimates because victims, men in particular, often stay silent out of shame.
Although older adults are often targeted — more than three-quarters of complaints to federal agencies came from people 40 and older — fraud experts say people of all ages and backgrounds can fall prey to romance scams.
But now, the number of people falling for those scams is growing at an alarming number.
New statistics out for the last six months of 2014 show, more than 6,400 Americans say they were scammed after visiting online dating sites in the second half of last year.
Many of those being targeted are senior citizens longing to get back in the dating pool."I got lonely and I spent a lot of time on the computer playing games, and I just happened to go to the date site," Janet Cook told us.
Related: Dating App Caters to the Rich by Weeding Out the Poor declined to comment on Joanna’s case specifically, but in a statement it said it goes to considerable lengths to make sure users are aware that they could encounter fraud artists.
Among the steps the site takes, they said, are a “pledge” that users must sign in which they promise not to send money or share financial information and to report anyone who asks for either; an anti-fraud “care team” that seeks out and blocks suspected scammers and technology that searches for word patterns and IP addresses associated with fraud.“Since a few of these scammers manage to slip through all of our checks, we educate our consumers and put tools in their hands to protect themselves and report any concerns,” said.
First he said his laptop broke and asked Joanna to ship a new one.
Then he needed money to get materials for his job out of customs.