Lonely, Online Looking For Love, Scammers Pounce To The Tune Of Millions!
This post contains a SPOILER ALERT for the Netflix original series Clickbait so reader BEWARE!
Fox News is reporting something of which KIT listeners should be aware. We love our under 50 KIT audience members but the fact is the biggest share of our radio fans could be characterized as seniors and I'm not talking about High School or College but the Silver-haired kind. (You know the old saying - If you aren't a liberal when you are young you have no heart, and if you aren't a conservative as you age you have no brain!)
Well, we have LOTS of brains out there in KIT listener-land so we are sending you all a heads-up from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Fox reports "an increasing number of American seniors have been targeted for "romance scams" during the pandemic." The FTC didn't really go into much detail on what constitutes a "Romance Scam" but I have an active imagination and I can make a pretty good guess.
A quick aside - The Netflix series Clickbait offers a twisted version of online romance scams. SPOILER ALERT!!!
In the show, a lonely senior woman, whose husband is more interested in his garage full of model trains than he is in his wife, decides to assume a handsome young co-worker's identity. She sets up a bunch of phony online relationships using his picture and personal information, which are amusement for her but real life and death for the women she meets -as him- online. In fact, one desperate woman is so shaken by a sudden breakup that it ends in suicide! YIKES! So the scammer is a senior and it's definitely a major scam, but not exactly what the FTC is warning about!! (but it was a good series!)
WE ARE TALKING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the top scams cost seniors aged 60 and up millions of dollars.
"Romance scams; prize, sweepstakes and lottery scams; and business impersonator scams caused the highest aggregate reported losses for older adults," the FTC wrote in its 55-page Protecting Older Consumers 2021 — 2021 report, which was published and submitted to Congress on Monday, Oct. 18.
Out of the five named scam types, romance scams were "the highest aggregate dollar losses" in 2019 and 2020, according to the FTC."
How much money are we talking about? How about $84 million in 2019 and a 65% increase in 2020 to $138 million dollars in the hardest hit 60-69 and 70-79 age groups!
PREYING ON THE LONELY
Consider this scenario - Covid isolates you, so you are lonely, as a result you go online and meet somebody who seems great...BUT..they need money because of COVID complications, and you can't meet in person because of COVID complications, so sucked in by the story, Ms. or Mr. lonely sends money through bank transfers and direct payments ($31 million) and cryptocurrency ($12 million) in 2020.
Lois Greisman, the FTC’s associate director for marketing practices, in an email to Fox News wrote, "We found that adults 60 and older reported losing more money to romance scammers than any other form of fraud in 2020."
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