Confidence or romance scam
Confidence/romance frauds prey on people who feel lonely, emotionally vulnerable, or are generally trusting.
Confidence or romance fraud simplified
An example of this would be thousands of online dating cases when victims fall in love with a person they’ve never seen before and end up giving away all of their money to this stranger. Another example would be when elderly individuals receive phone calls from strangers who pretend to be their grandchildren asking for immediate financial help. In both cases, the perpetrators then disappear from their victims’ lives, never to be seen or heard from again.
Tips to prevent confidence or romance fraud
Beware of strangers professing extreme feelings like “undying love,” or anything similar. Such scams are quite common and they prey on people who are emotionally susceptible.
Be financially responsible
Don’t wire money to someone you’ve never met before. It’s a simple rule, but it works. A stranger has no obligation to pay you back or even return the favor.
If you suspect someone’s pretending to be your relative, ask them personal questions first. Anything family related will do, like names of shared relatives, etc.
Confidence or romance fraud stats
According to the FBI Internet Crime Reports, here's how devastating confidence or romance scams were from 2015 to 2022:
Average losses and victim count
year over year
Confidence or romance fraud cases have reached record numbers with 24.3K yearly victims (around 67 victims per day) in 2021.
Victims have reported the highest average financial loss to confidence or romance scams in 2021 ($39.3K per victim).
During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the number of confidence or romance fraud cases grew by 22%, and the average financial loss grew by 4% (from $24.4K to $25.3K) per victim compared to 2019 as well.
Despite the increasing awareness of online crimes, daily financial losses to confidence or romance scams have grown around four times from 2015 ($557.2K per day) to 2022 ($2M per day).