Online romance scams cost victims more than $50 million

Posted Dec 1, 2013 by Ajit Jha
While online dating is increasingly becoming common, there is always the lurking threat of a rip-off. Incidents from Canada exemplify the problem.
Online dating has become popular for many people
Online dating has become popular for many people
Don Hankins
However, the FBI received 5600 complaints from the victims of romance criminals in 2011, according to
On the basis of reported cases, the collective losses from romance scams in 2011 were estimated at $50.4 million. However, this is probably only a fraction of the actual losses since many victims are too embarrassed to file a complaint, according to FBI. Among the victims 70 percent were female and more than half of them were 40 years or older.
In a recently reported online romance scam, a Victoria resident lost $88,000, according to Victoria Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit. The victim became suspicious only when she lost contact with the person, but she had already lost tens of thousands of dollars overseas by them.
It appears really strange that people continue to fall victims to dating scams even as they know some of the dos and don’ts applicable to Internet relationships. For instance, some of the time tested recommendations to avoid online romance scams include “Don’t pursue a long distance relationship with a stranger online”, “Never reveal personal data to someone”, “pay attention to language”, “upload a potential paramour’s photo on” to identify the original source of the photo, “don’t fall for a sob story” among several more, according to Reader’s Digest.
However, precautions are completely forgotten or con artists have perfected their online romance skills to the levels that do not make you suspicious at all. When you meet a man online, who appears to share several common interests that you begin to feel he is the one you’ve been truly waiting for. However, by the time you realize that the whole thing was a scam, you have already lost thousands of dollars and left with a broken heart.
According to, there are high to moderate fraud risk nations. Extra caution is recommended when dealing with someone from these nations. Some of the high fraud risk nations include Nigeria, Ghana, Russia, Ukraine, Philippines and Malaysia.
In addition to exercising caution at personal level, it helps to take professional assistance before forming business and personal relationships. Caution is really critical in course of business or personal relationships involving monetary transactions. There are companies that can perform online dating checks including physical verification world wide with their dedicated team of international investigators present in nearly every important location worldwide.
Although, like any other crime, romance crime is pretty much an established crime that cannot be wished away, yet a combination of steps including caution, due diligence, background check and common sense can go a long way in keeping the potential victims safe.