In this video report by Alyana Gomez with Fox KTVU, she explains how 'romance scams' are costing California Victims more than their hearts.
POSTED: FEB 12 2018 03:10PM PST
VIDEO POSTED: FEB 12 2018 11:06PM PST
UPDATED: FEB 12 2018 11:09PM PST
The FBI has a message for those looking for love online this week: watch your wallet. The agency is warning people that so-called “romance scams” have jumped 20 percent, and these types of schemes net some of the biggest financial losses compared to other online crimes.
You may think you’re too savvy to be taken by an online scammer, but the Deputy Special Agent Craig Fair with the FBI’s San Francisco Division says crooks got away with more than $30 million in California alone in 2016.
“We have talked to victims in the Bay Area who have been taken for hundreds of thousands of dollars and even more than a million in a couple cases,” he said.
Nationwide, more than 15,000 complaints were logged by the agency, totally more than $230 million.
“Any site out there where individuals are posting personal information, they are presenting themselves as a vulnerability to these types of scams.” Fair added.
A San Francisco woman who didn’t want to be identified told KTVU about a scammer that impersonated a military service member to lure her into an online relationship. She ended up wiring him money several times before she finally broke it off.
But there may be some good news for any victims who were taken by a scammer, and sent money through Western Union. The Federal Trade Commission has announced that the anyone who sent money to a scammer through the company may be eligible for a refund.
The deadline to file has been extended to May 31, 2018.