Facebook “romance” scams, where a con artist seduces and then tricks an unsuspecting user into handing over money, are among the most common scams on the site. They’re so common, in fact, that the Ohio Attorney General felt the need to issue a warning about them in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.
“Scam artists will pretend to be someone they’re not,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “They’ll start to communicate with a person online, and they’ll forge an emotional connection. At some point, they’ll start asking for money.”
There’s a good reason DeWine wanted to warn residents of his state about these scams: his office received 60 complaints about them in 2016. What’s worse, victims lost an average — an average — of $21,000, with some losing as much as $100,000 over the course of several years.
Of course, there are easy ways to spot these scams and then report them. If a random stranger sends you a friend request, it’s probably best to deny it right off the bat. If you get a message out of the blue from someone claiming you’re meant to be together, it’s probably a good idea to ignore that, too. It’s not rocket science, but the fact that these cons keep getting pulled means they’re working on somebody.