Colorado Division of Securities Warns of Romance Scams on the Rise
October 7, 2022- Denver, CO- The Colorado Division of Securities is alerting the public to a scam that is taking place across the country. This year alone, since September 2021, there have been over 1,800 complaints of online romance scams to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), with losses of over $133.4 million.
In a turbulent and emotionally disconnected world, many people are lonely and looking for someone to share a connection with. While social media has made it easier to connect, it has also made it easier to deceive.
Modern day romance scammers do extensive research of the social media profiles of potential victims and they reach out under false profiles crafted to attract the targeted victim. The romance scammers pretend to be the perfect partner, gaining trust and building a one-sided romance through calls, emails, and chats.
Eventually the scammers will ask for something or manipulate you into offering money. They usually create a compelling story about fees from a foreign country or hardships that they are experiencing. In the end, they’ll have you send them money for something like an investment, fees, or a short-term loan. They may also try to get you to disclose personal information like social security numbers or bank accounts. Once they’ve gotten what they need, they disappear and leave victims heartbroken, betrayed, and defrauded.
The Division would like to help Coloradans protect their money and their heart from these scams.
Here are some red flags that can help you spot a romance scam:
- Reluctance by your partner to meet in-person or by video,
- A backstory for why it must be a long-distance relationship,
- An obstacle that is keeping the two of you apart and which can be removed if only…
- A sad, elaborate story where money is needed to help,
- Discussing wealth or business success,
- Pressure to send money or disclose personal information,
- Introducing an app or website that requires personal information or through which money is sent.
Here are steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Keep your social media presence limited to people you know. When people have public social media profiles with detailed personal information, they leave themselves open to scammers who can use the information to run a con.
- Don’t send money and don’t disclose personal information to people you meet online.
- Collect information, keep screen shots and communications from people you meet online especially if it looks like money or personal information will be involved. If they are a scammer, you will have information to provide to the authorities.
- If you suspect anything, disengage immediately. Block them and delete them.
If you or someone you know have invested with an online romantic partner and you have been scammed, you can report them to the Colorado Division of Securities at https://securities.colorado.gov/file-a-complaint or to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at https://complaint.ic3.gov/.
ABOUT THE GROUPS
The Colorado Division of Securities regulates the state securities industry. It works to protect investors and maintain confidence in the securities market, while avoiding unreasonable burdens on the marketplace by licensing securities professionals, enforcing securities law violations, and helping Coloradans become more informed investors.
DORA is the state's umbrella regulatory agency, charged with managing licensing and registration for multiple professions and businesses, implementing balanced regulation for Colorado industries, and protecting consumers. Our nearly 600 employees are dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and promoting a fair and competitive business environment throughout Colorado.