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Romance scams are a growing form of consumer fraud

No one likes to be duped, especially when it results in the loss of money. What may be even more painful than consumer fraud that costs someone money is a scam involving the heart. Unfortunately for those in Illinois and across the country, these kinds of scams are becoming more common and more expensive.

Romance scams typically begin on social media or dating sites and involve the creation of a fake profile the fraudster establishes to attract someone who is vulnerable. After developing a relationship with the victim over weeks or months, the fraudster creates a ruse to ask for money. This may be an emergency or the need for travel expenses, which the victim willingly pays under the assumption that the relationship is genuine.

The average victim loses nearly $3,000, more than other types of fraud. Victims over the age of 70 lose considerably more, sometimes $10,000 or more. Consumer advocates warn those using online dating sites to beware of users who are quick to profess their love, who claim to travel internationally or who refuse to meet face-to-face. Before sending money to anyone, it is wise to do as much research as possible, including double-checking their profile, watching for inconsistencies in their stories and doing a reverse-image search.

Nevertheless, fraudsters can be persuasive and even the most diligent and careful can be caught in a scheme. When this happens, Illinois victims of consumer fraud may wonder about their options. Fortunately, they have a resource in a skilled legal professional with experience defending the rights of victims of fraud.

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