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Internet Romance Scams Cost Victims $50 Million in 2011

Internet Romance

Heartless internet scammers have cost lonely and vulnerable online daters more than $50 million dollars in 2011. To make matters worse it is usually the most vulnerable among us who fall for these scams. The elderly, the disabled, recent widowers and divorcees are often the targets.

Internet romance scams are growing in volume and intensity according to a new report from the Internet Crime Complaint Center

The center received 314,246 complaints last year, 5,600 of which were related to romance scams. The price tag for the average victim was $8,900 adding up to the $50 million dollars.

What does a person have to do to fall victim to one of these scams?

According to the report the scammers troll through as many venues for finding victims as they can. Dating sites, chat rooms and social media sites top the list. The scammers use a well rehearsed and practiced script to pull in the victims and even send them gifts.

As John Breyault, director of the National Consumers League’s fraud center, explained to the Washington Examiner,

“Because they have developed a relationship, often romantic, with their victim, there’s more trust there.”

FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer said that the sums these scammers can get out of a single victim are high because they get the victims to pay for expensive medical procedures and travel.

Huffington Post blogger and cancer survivor Dori Hartley wrote of experiencing an online romance scam first-hand in much this same way. she wrote on a blog for the Post that for five years she believed she was in a relationship with someone who had cancer.

Hartley wrote on the Huffington Post,

“So, how do stupid things like this happen to smart people like me?. Desperate loneliness is a good place to start — that, and a willingness to believe in a fantasy. After all, the heart wants what the heart wants, and I wanted love. Or maybe it’s just impossible to think that anyone would lie about having cancer — especially to a survivor.”

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3 Responses to “Internet Romance Scams Cost Victims $50 Million in 2011”

  1. Anonymous

    as Emily responded I'm startled that a student can earn $6460 in one month on the computer. have you seen this web page.



  2. Faith Simmons

    Oh my gosh Dori… I'm so terribly sorry. The first thing you have to know is that it has nothing to do with your intelligence. Romance scam is mechanized to bypass intelligence and go right to the emotions, where they are subjected to a well-designed script. In every case the victim falls prey to emotional manipulation (taking the logic out of things, and inputting the heart). If you have no warning or awareness of it, then you cannot protect yourself from the crime.

    I am an anti-scam activist, former victim, and member of We are a caring community who understand the WHOLE phenomena of romance scam, and provide support, friendship, advice and public awareness to anyone who has suffered from scam… and we ask nothing in return. We just care to return balance to the lives that have been devastated by criminals.

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