The Better Business Bureau recently issued a report, "Online Romance Scams," which provides detailed information about how scammers use impersonation, blackmail, and trickery to steal from unsuspecting daters.
The report's recommendations include:
- Enforcement agencies should share information about their prosecutions, do more training, and do more prosecutions;
- Online dating sites and social media platforms should do more to screen, identify, and remove profiles used for scams; and
- Support groups should be formed to assist victims of dating fraud.
The report was written by the well-respected Steve Baker, who served as Director of the FTC's Midwest Region for many years. He's currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Council for Better Business Bureaus and is the BBB's International Investigation's specialist.
Romance scams are different from other scams. They prey on lonely people looking to connect with someone, and can often take months to develop to the point where money changes hands. The emotional harm to the victim can be even more painful than the monetary loss.