Romantic scams are on the rise, older people are more at risk


HONOLULU (KHON2) – More people have turned to online dating during the pandemic, and experts say they are seeing more romance scams because of it.

According to the Better Business Bureau’s Risk Report 2020, romance scams were ranked the sixth riskiest scam.

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In a love scam, the scammer will establish a connection with someone, building trust through messages on dating apps or websites. Then, once the connection is deepened, they will start asking for things.

“Usually it’s money, or even your personal information, because the theft of your identity is also very useful for them on their end,” said Roseann Freitas of the Better Business Bureau.

Freitas said scammers target people of all ages, but people 55 and older are more at risk for this type of scam. For people aged 55 to 64, this was the riskiest scam for them.

“Loneliness is really what makes a lot of it. It’s not that they have the money that they probably have, but it’s more what they need and they crave that personal interaction with someone else.

Roseann Freitas, Better Business Bureau

However, she said people should always watch out for red flags such as if the person refuses to meet in person or via video call, if they have a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes in messages, and if she asks for a sum of money. .

Freitas said don’t be afraid to ask them tough questions.

“A lot of times they say they’re from Hawaii, but some things just don’t make sense, start asking questions. Do they really know Hawaii? And if they are from somewhere else, be really skeptical, why would they suddenly want to start a relationship with someone who is so far away? Freitas said. “We always have to keep a little bit of guard, on any online platform, just to make sure certain things make sense.”

She said there are other ways to check if the person you’re dating is legitimate as well, like checking their photo.

“There are ways to check if this image has been used elsewhere on the Internet. So you can do a Google image search and see if it shows up somewhere else, and you might find that that image belongs to someone else, ”Freitas said.

If anyone suspects he or a family member is part of a romance scam, the Better Business Bureau has said they should contact the police or the FBI.

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