Stay wary of fraudulent romance this Valentine's Day

On the day celebrating Saint Valentine and related or unrelated acts of romance, the Finance Latvia Association has come out with some date-appropriate information regarding scam-crossed lovers.

The Finance Latvia Association says that the so-called romantic scam victim numbers un-fraud-tunately grew by 20% last year in comparison with 2022. 

The association's representative Laima Letiņa said that the volume of this type of scam is hard to identify as not all victims report it. But estimates show that it is growing year by year.

"We see the scammers focusing on small but regular income. Small bank transfers are harder to spot, and the scammers are using it. In cases of romantic scam, people willingly part from their money, for months or even years. So in sum, the amounts are substantial," said Letiņa.

Fraudsters most often create fake profiles on social platforms Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, etc, and try to win people's trust over a longer time. It begins with a friend invite from a stranger, most often a foreigner, followed by regular communication, which becomes increasingly intense and the remote relationship closer. Then fraudsters start asking for financial help. The money is asked for sudden medical expenses, like helping a loved one or a travel ticket to supposedly meet.

Women over the age of 50 are the most frequent victims of romantic fraud in Latvia, but the age range is wide, and people of virtually all ages can become victims.

Younger women fall victims to scammers on dating platforms like Tinder and Badoo, older ones on social networking platforms Facebook, Instagram.

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