During the year of the coronavirus pandemic, many people were forced to isolate themselves at home due to the fear of getting sick. Because of this, many people became bored and lo… Read More
For decades, many people have fallen for romance scams all across the world. They use social media platforms, dating apps, and emails to get their hands on your hard-earned money so that they can live the lifestyle of their dreams. Romance scammers will go to the lengths of pretending to fall in love with you in order to drain your bank account. In 2020, a record-breaking $304,000,000 was lost in the United States due to romance scams. It has risen up to 50% since 2019, showing that the rate of romance scams has increased significantly due to the coronavirus.
There are many people that go onto dating apps and scroll on their social media platforms on a daily basis. A lot of these people are looking for love and will do whatever it takes to find that special companion. However, romance scammers plague many of these apps, looking to find their next victim to be a part of their scam.
They spam their victims’ inboxes with cheesy cute quotes that make these innocent victims fall fast and hard for them. The victims fall for these phrases and talk to the romance scammer consistently, forming a romantic relationship with them.
Since these victims are so happy, they don’t realize that the romance scammer is rushing their relationship at a faster than normal rate. They also fail to notice the countless times a romance scammer refuses to video chat with them or meet them in person due to a plethora of excuses.
Once the romance scammer talks to them for a few weeks, they start asking for small amounts of money. They usually claim that they need money for groceries, help to pay bills or to see their victim. Then as the conversations continue, they start asking for big amounts due to fake emergencies such as a work emergency, hospital bills, or a financial crisis.
The romance scammer continues to ask their victims for money until the victim can’t give them any more money. The romance scammer tries to guilt trip more money out of them if the victims say no, telling them that they need to help their loved one out. The romance scammer blocks their victims once they get the money they need.
These scams are set up very similar to a pyramid scheme. There is a guy at the top that is the boss of the romance scam ring. Then, you have his employees with two different roles that scam their victims. These roles consist of the people who find the victims online with catfish profiles, and the people who communicate with these victims as the role of the catfished profile. The boss usually gives his employees a script called the scammer’s playbook in order to lure his victims in.
Next, they go out and usually fool someone into being their money launder. The money launder helps transfer the money from the victim into their account and then transfers it to the scammer’s account, most of the time without even knowing it. This is to prevent the romance scammer from being caught with fraudulent funds.
Finally, you have the victims, which are called “clients” in the romance scamming world. The clients are average citizens who are being scammed out of their money by romance scammers. They usually send their money to the money launders who are disguised as bank representatives or lawyers. Then the money launders send the money over to the romance scammers, aka the boss.
The scammer’s playbook is a script that the boss gives their employees in order to scam their victims. These playbooks have phrases of a variety of different topics that the scammers can copy and paste to their victims. The playbooks have romantic phrases, conversation starters, and questions that show concern to the victim.
These phrases are supposed to trick the victim into believing the scammers care for them when really they just want to get their hands on their hard-earned cash. To view these playbooks, click the PDF links down below.
Their goal is simple: they just want to get their hands on their victims’ cash. In Africa, you can live very well off of $1,000 easily for an entire month. Therefore, if romance scammers get just $50- $250 from their victims, that is still a lot of money for them to live comfortably for most of the month. Nigeria is a poor country in Africa, meaning they will do anything they can to scam you out of your money so that they can live a comfortable lifestyle. Many employee scammers use your money so that they can just make a living to support themselves.
However, there are also many bosses of romance scammers that use your money to live the best life possible. They will buy themselves nice cars, fancy clothing, nice jewelry, and live as extravagant of life as they can because they now have the money to do so. The employee romance scammers don’t see them as the bad guy, but instead, see them as successful because they were able to create this business to support their lavish lifestyle.
During the year of the coronavirus pandemic, many people were forced to isolate themselves at home due to the fear of getting sick. Because of this, many people became bored and lonely as they tried to find ways to cope with being forced to stay at home. One way that people have tried to cure their loneliness is by creating online dating accounts, hoping to find their future significant other. However, scammers flood these dating apps and pretend to be someone they aren’t in order to lure their victims in. This has caused an increase in romance scams, with a record-breaking $304 million dollars due to these scams lost during the pandemic.
According to the above chart created by the FTC, back in 2016, only $75 million were lost due to romance scams with 11,235 cases reported. As we get into the year 2017, 16,902 cases were reported with $87 million lost. Then in 2018, it increased 22,264 cases with $145 million lost. In 2019, 25,113 cases were reported with $202 million lost. Finally last year in 2020, the record of the most cases and money lost due to romance scams broke with a whopping $304 million lost and 32,792 cases reported.
Within just a four-year span, romance scam cases increased by 21,557 cases and $229 million more dollars were lost. This just goes to show how romance scams keep rapidly increasing due to the uptick in users on dating apps and social media platforms. Last year, the record-breaking numbers occurred due to the coronavirus pandemic keeping us all indoors, forcing people to rely on dating apps and social media platforms so they wouldn’t feel as lonely. However, this made them more susceptible to romance scammers.
Many dating apps and social media platforms have become increasingly more popular from 2016 to now. For example, a chart provided by Blackstone, IAC, Statista, and Business of Apps, shows that the global revenue for dating apps has increased from 2015 to 2020. This shows just how these dating apps have grown in popularity and how much people rely on them to find the person they are supposed to be with.
Along with this, many people were forced to stay at home when COVID-19 first occurred. Non-essential businesses closed, restaurants could only serve take-out only, and people were encouraged to only mingle in person with those living in their homes. Therefore, many people had to rely on technology to have a conversation with friends or to make new friends that they could talk to.
According to the IC3, the top 5 states with the most amount of money lost in 2020 are California, Texas, Florida, Michigan, and New York. California had 3,110 romance scam cases with $120,492,182 lost. Texas had 1,602 romance scam cases with $42,181,951 lost. Florida had 1,603 cases with $40,173,934 lost. Michigan had 572 cases with $28,616,190 lost. Finally, New York had 1,103 cases with $26,286,815 lost.
The bottom 5 territories with the least amount of money lost were Guam, Virgin Islands, U.S. Minor Outlying Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Guam had 8 romance scam cases with $88,175 lost. The Virgin Islands had 4 romance scam cases with $41,100 lost. U.S. Minor Outlying Islands had 3 romance scam cases with $35,100 lost. American Samoa had 1 romance scam case with $500 lost. Finally, Northern Mariana Islands had 0 romance scam cases with $0 lost.
This just goes to show that even the United States territories have been hit hard with romance scams due to the coronavirus pandemic. Even though $500-$88,175 lost wasn’t as much as $120,492,182, it’s still a lot of money lost between only a few people in these territories. This just goes to show how much people have relied on online dating within the past year to cure their loneliness. Due to desperation to find someone during the pandemic, people have fallen harder for these romance scammers whose only intentions are to steal their victims’ money.
A family is concerned after their mom and wife, Debbie, fell victim to a romance scam. She met her romance scammer while playing an innocent game of SongPop, and started talking to him non-stop. Even though she was married, the scammer made her question how she felt about her husband and whether or not she even wanted to stay in the marriage.
He asked for $50,000 to fix an oil rig he was working on, and she gave him the money thinking that she was helping out. Debbie and her family came to Social Catfish to get the help they needed as they tried to figure out whether or not this man was real. The results from our search will shock you… watch the video above and read the article to learn more about their story.
Church is from the Philippines and met a guy named Gerald Chang through her direct messages on Instagram. She had just gotten out of a bad relationship with her ex-boyfriend and was looking to move on from him. She was in a romantic relationship with Gerald for 6 months before she suspected that something was going on.
He kept claiming he would send something but kept asking her for money in order to retrieve her package. When she finally emptied her own savings, she was tempted to drain her children’s savings account. Will she empty her children’s savings account to retrieve her package? Watch the video above and read the article to learn more about her story.
If you think you’re dealing with a scammer or have had your pictures stolen, Social Catfish is here to help you!
If you want to be a part of our next YouTube video or blog post and share your story, now is your chance. You can educate our audience about what you have gone through and make sure no one else goes through the same thing. All you need to do is email ShareMyStory@socialcatfish.com, and we will get back to you with more details.
You can also reverse search any information you have on the Nigerian romance scammer to see who it is you’ve really been talking to. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image you can search it up in our search bar to see if there is more information on the suspected scammer you are talking to.