The Shocking Reality of How the Pandemic & Ukraine War Have Fuelled Romance Scams
According to a report, romance scams have nearly doubled since the start of the Pandemic, with victims losing more than $18 million. The US Federal Trade Commission said that in 2021 they saw a record $547 million stolen in romance scams which marked a nearly 80 percent increase compared to the year before.
It is no doubt that Ukraine is currently in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, and many people are looking for ways to help the victims. As long as it is excellent to do so, people need to be aware of the fact that when a major crisis like Ukraine causes a surge of charitable donations and help from all over the world, it can bring along some heartless com artists who are always out there trying to take advantage of global goodwill by creating scams! Unfortunately, hundreds of scammers take advantage of the invasion to trick you out of your money, either through a phishing scam or one of those fake social media sites claiming to be fundraisers for Ukraine or, in the worst scenario, your date.
The Pandemic and the Ukraine war have led to an increase in scammers trying to dupe people with Romance Scams. You may be wondering how are Covid, the war, and the romance scams even connected? Read the article below carefully and follow the steps to be careful at all times. You can thank us later!
Victims Have Lost $18 Million+ To Romance Scams During This War
According to a report, romance scams have nearly doubled since the start of the Pandemic, with victims losing more than $18 million. The US Federal Trade Commission said that in 2021 they saw a record $547 million stolen in romance scams which marked a nearly 80 percent increase compared to the year before. Insane!
However, the schemes these scammers follow to scam people have always been so devastating because they pray on people who don’t know how vulnerable they are online. It all starts with an unexpected friend request from a fake profile. Scammers put on appealing displays and begin reaching out to the victims by claiming similarities with them, shared interests, and a mutual connection, Woah.
Now once they have built a deeper understanding and so-called ‘relationship’, they start asking for money. Sooner or later, they for sure do. They are actually extra skilled at playing with emotions, and their stories are endless, putting never-ending pressure on the victims. In fact, with the uprising of Covid 19, some people even claimed to be from Ukraine, asking for money for medical emergencies, when in reality they were doing perfectly fine. You think you are helping someone when you are actually just getting yourself stolen. The scammer basically uses the illusion of an intimate and romantic relationship to exploit the victim. Disgusting, we know!
In these difficult times, when the internet tried to be our lifeline in these difficult times, some extremely fake people were quick enough to take advantage, perhaps because pandemics limited the ability to meet in person. An online dating site offered more than 3289 Russian girls “seeking true love” in Australia. After clicking a link, email recipients were asked to answer questions about their preferred body type and age. The Australian embassy has reported that victims have lost up to $35,000 through dating scams and that some victims traveled overseas only to be kidnapped on arrival and held for ransom. Not only that, but scams have also been operating from Eastern Europe!
Did COVID-19 Have a Part To Play in This?
Scammers have been canceling dates over supposedly positive Covid Tests as those, according to them, disrupted their travel plans and forced them to quarantine. What a well-worn script by romance scammers!
They also adopted fake identities, often saying they lived in Ukraine, requiring money for plane tickets, visa fees, medical expenses, or other emergencies with the promise of paying the amount back when they are finally united. How low could someone get?!
Do you suspect that someone had scammed you?
If you have any suspicion of a scam or phishing attack, then you can rely on EZChargeback to help you with protection, mitigation, and fund recovery.
You will feel safe knowing that experts with years of experience will be guiding you!
Look Out for These Actions!
Watch out for the red flags; you never know how smoothly scammers may have set traps for you. For example, It is always recommended to be careful when meeting people online, especially if they have a convenient story that makes it impossible to meet in person. If they seem to fall in love quickly and start to ask for financial help directly or move money for them, these are big red flags!
Sometimes your friends or loved ones may also show signs of being involved in a dating scam. For example, they start showing extreme emotions and loyalty towards someone they just met. Never let go of them and follow up. Secondly, they may begin to hide away things and get self-isolated. Aggressiveness becomes a common part of their everyday nature. Lastly, they would obviously start sending money to people they have never even met. Oops, time to get active!
Protect Yourself & Those in Ukraine
Now, you must be wondering, does this really happen in the real world? Can people really take advantage of humanitarian crises? So the answer is obviously yes. We live in a cruel world.
So far, about one-quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million population has fled the country. While the situation in Ukraine is evolving, so are the cyber threats facing consumers. Visit EZChargeback to continue to stay alert for attempts to exploit the conflict and be skeptical of news you receive on social media. No matter what, vigilance should be your number one key weapon!
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