Ohioans lost almost $4 million dollars to romance scams in 2019 according to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. “A fake online romance can break your heart and the bank,” Yost said. “Knowing how to spot the red flags can keep bad love from getting worse.”
Many of us have been targeted. One popular fake friend is a distinguished gentleman. Usually, he’s a handsome silver fox. Or at least the person whose photo they stole for the account is. He’ll claim to be a retired or active military man. Men are often targeted with pics of beautiful young women in foreign countries who just can’t wait to come to visit you – as soon as you send some money.
One common thread is that these crooks say they’re overseas (which they probably are) and need money. They might claim to need it for medical trouble, legal trouble, or to travel to the U.S. to visit you.
Last year, Ohio’s Consumer Protection Section had 57 complaints about romance scams. The scams didn’t come cheap. Consumers lost $4 million. According to the Ohio AG, a Clinton County woman lost almost half a million dollars to a guy she met on a dating site who said he was in Egypt. She sent him cash and gift cards because she believed he needed money to ship goods internationally. A Richland County woman sent $300,000 to a guy who claimed to need money for hotels and attorney fees.
Here’s the deal, a lot of people make love connections with apps or online. But you have to be careful. Just as if you met someone at the store, you can believe everything they tell you. Do a little online searching to fact-check who they are. Be super-suspicious of anyone who tells you right away that they are in love with you.
If someone says they’re in a foreign country, warning bells should go off. If someone tries to get you to send them money, cut them off. If you think you’ve been scammed, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.