When seeking love online costs millions

Many people in California now look to online dating sites and apps to find their romantic partners. For some people, they find love, settle down and start a family. In some other cases, the end result is fraud. While many people complain about getting deceived via “catfishing,” the fraud in these instances tend to be more serious.

One 2015 article published on CNBC found that there was a total of $800 million in losses due to online fraud in the previous year. The most common targets in these cases were people looking for love online and those who shared too many personal details of their lives online. In 2014, scams related to proposed love affairs were the most commonly reported.

These romance scams often involved people pretending to be military personnel who were looking for a partner. Men were often targeted in these scams, but in 70% of these instances, the victims were women. On average, targeted individuals lost $14,214 to the people they believed were their romantic partners.

This year, CNN reported that 2018 losses specifically for fraud related to romance totaled $143 million. As a category, this was higher than any other type of fraud reported for that year. In fact, reports quadrupled from 2015 to 2018. Also, back in 2015, CNN estimates that $33 million were lost in romance scams. Pretend lovers found their targets not only on dating sites but by using regular social media platforms, such as Facebook.

While not mentioned by either article, there may also be instances where a genuine attraction goes sour and the individual claims fraud to reclaim money loaned or given to their ex. Regardless of the situation around the case, charges for fraud may limit legitimate work opportunities.

This may only compel people to re-offend, leading to a dangerous cycle that becomes difficult to break. Because of this, people accused of fraud often put up a strong fight to either avoid the courtroom altogether or beat their case.

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