BBB study shows fake online romances scam victims out of millions of dollars

BALTIMORE, Md. (WMAR) - A recent study made by the BBB shows that online romance scams are swindling an estimated $1 billion dollars over the past three years from everyday people.

The study, also known as, "Online Romance Scams: A Better Business Bureau Study on How Scammers Use Impersonation, Blackmail and Trickery to Steal from Unsuspecting Daters," reports that scammers gain the trust of unsuspected people and will use that opportunity to slowly lure them into sending them money.

According to the study, the romance scam starts off with the scammer asking for small amounts of money and it later transitioning into larger amounts. The cycle lingers on until it becomes a form of money laundering.

The report also found that the majority of romance scams originate from West Africa, particularly Nigeria. There are also groups that originate in Russia and the Ukraine that employ online dating sites to defraud victims.

The BBB encourages people to beware of these circumstances to ensure that you are not a scammer's next victim. 

´╗┐"Falling in love online, whether it's with a car, rental property, puppy or person, has its risks," said Angie Barnett, president and CEO, BBB of Greater Maryland. "Paying money upfront, when you've never met face-to-face, is never a good idea. It's just too easy for people hide their true identity behind an I.P. address. You have to keep your wits about you."

For tips to help prevent you from being tied up in a romance scam CLICK HERE.

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