The FBI issued a warning as they predict a spike in romance scams due to the upcoming Valentine’s Day this weekend. The FBI’s internet crime complaint center (IC3) reported romance scams have resulted in some of the highest amounts of reported financial crimes. In 2020, over 20,000 complaints were received categorized as romance scams. Scammers connect with victims on dating sites and apps and use well-rehearsed stories of severe life circumstances and hardships to gain sympathy from victims. They often send flowers or gifts to further connect with victims and legitimize the relationship. Once rapport is established, the scammer asks the victim to send them money to overcome a situation or hardship. In other instances, the scammer asked the victim to help complete a money transfer, and the victim is unknowingly laundering money for the scammer. The scammers may also be using the technique to steal personally identifiable information from victims instead of money, and then committing identity theft fraud such as filing false unemployment claims or taking income tax refunds.
By Anthony Zampino Introduction Leading up to the most recent Russian invasion of Ukraine in