(August 22, 2012) New Zealanders (Kiwis) are losing $674,000 a year to online dating scams according to NetSafe, which has a self-reporting tracking tool for the reporting of Internet scams. When taking into account those who are scammed and don’t report it, the number is likely more than $1 million a year.
According to Online Dating Magazine, romance scams bilk more money out of people in the world than any other type of Internet scam.
In a romance / online dating scam, the perpetrator pretends to be someone he/she is not in order to trick you into falling in love with him/her, then bilking you for money over faked “emergencies”. In pulling off a scam, over the series of weeks, a scammer will use elegantly written emails and sometimes even gifts and phone calls to get a victim to fall in love.
Scammers bank on an emotional connection from the victim in order to gain trust and successfully pull of the scam. Romance scammers are very skilled at what they do, including having the ability to fake a Web cam chat that victims believe are real.
In Australia $10 million a month is lost to romance scams. In the United States, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reports that nearly 6,000 people file complaints about romance scams to the tune of $50 million a year. Women fall for scams more than men by a 3:1 ratio. 50-59 year-olds seem most susceptible to falling for romance.
For Kiwis, the amount lost to online dating and romance scams is growing at an alarming rate, virtually doubling every year. As a result of the growing problem, Online Dating Magazine has opened a special section on Romance Scams to educate singles and online daters.