Crypto Romance Scams Were Prominent This Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day this year was wrought with chocolates, roses, and a few dozen romance scams. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says several of these scams popped up during or prior to the national holiday, and that the problems surrounding romance scams are getting worse.

Romance Scams Were Big This Holiday

In 2021 alone, more than 24,000 people were either targeted by or fell victim to romance scams according to the federal agency. The process works as such: a person hooks up with another through an online dating site or app. Believing they’ve found their soulmate they begin engaging with the person and talking with them on a regular basis. Things seem truly blissful and fantastic, and allegedly nothing can get in the way of the potential relationship.

From there, however, the secondary party tells the first one about a possible crypto investment opportunity. They show them a platform that’s – unknown to them – controlled by scammers and claim that returns are possible. The person initially looking for love decides that they don’t have much to lose, and they begin investing their money after experiencing some pressure from the other person.

When they initially start to garner returns, they get super excited and start to invest more. From there, they try to make a withdrawal, and that’s where the primary issue comes in. They discover all too late that their money has become inaccessible, and that they must “give more” before they can get any back. It’s a sad and twisted occurrence that’s brought both love – and crypto – down in recent days.

Much of the time, these scams are being orchestrated by groups of people overseas. They target multiple people as a means of adding more illicit funds to the accounts they control. Sue McConnell – president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Cleveland, Ohio – explained in a statement:

Unfortunately, when you’re looking for love, there are a lot of people looking to target you.

She commented that many cybercriminals are now beginning to turn away from wire transfers and gift cards and are moving deeper into the crypto realm as it’s not regulated by any government agencies. Thus, there are no official ways to track crypto transactions, meaning there’s a higher probability that they’ll get away with their crimes. She said:

I mean, the money’s gone. I don’t think people realize that they’re, you know, you put your money in a bank and that has FDIC protection, but you put your money in cryptocurrency, you don’t have the same kinds of protection.

Don’t Give in to Fake Love

She’s also warning that traders need to keep their eyes open for “love bombers.”

These are people that show instant affection, then claim to experience some sort of medical or financial emergency and they persuade you to give them cash.

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