Protecting your heart and your wallet, new national campaign aims to make you aware of romance scams

 

DELMARVA- Dating or Defrauding? It’s a new national campaign government agencies pieced together to help protect your heart and your wallet against romance scams.

“Being that we have seen an increase in the COVID-19 pandemic of these fraud scheme cases going on we’ve tried to be more provocative,” Cara Rose, Group Supervisor over Identity and Benefit Fraud Task Force with Homeland Security Investigations Baltimore, said.

Agencies such as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations is a part of the efforts. They’ll promote education on romance scams from February 7 to March 11 through community outreach, online, and presentations.

“The individuals that wind up becoming victims of this are typically our vulnerable population and they really need our help its considered a huge public safety issue,” Rose said.

We’re told during these scams fraudsters will create relationships with victims through mostly dating apps and social media platforms. They will then use this as a way to get personal information from them.

“Telling them that they are in trouble that they own businesses, that the businesses are in trouble or they are having issues with foreign officials,” Rose said.

And, these romance scams aren’t just targeting one group of people.

“We are seeing between 18 to 29, but then again we have victimization all the way up 60’s and past 60’s into our senior population,” Worcester County Sheriff Matt Crisafulli said.

But, according to Sheriff Matt Crisafulli trying to identify these scammers can be complicated.

“Because a lot of times the suspects per say are out of the country they are using voice over IP,” Sheriff Crisafulli said.

So, that’s why a campaign like this could be powerful to teach people who’s actually looking for love versus who just wants their money.

“These types of campaigns are huge, we want the word to get out there we want all our residents to be educated,” Sheriff Crisafulli said.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, in 2020 alone, people who experienced romance scams lost more than 600 million dollars.

ICE said they get leads through a tip line and through police departments about these scams every day.

To learn more about the campaign and romance scams, you can click the links below:

https://www.ice.gov/features/romance-scams

https://connect.usa.gov/dating-or-defrauding

Categories: Local News, Maryland