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FBI Omaha warns of ‘romantic schemes’ on Valentine’s Day after $700 million loss

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska) – In 2022, more than 19,000 victims of romance fraud reported losses of more than $700 million, reports the FBI Omaha.

Omaha FBI Special Agent Eugene Kowel says scammers target online sites, dating apps and social media.

“I can tell you that romance fraud is simply when scammers and criminals target and try to take advantage of people looking for companionship and scam them out of their money,” Kowel said.

He says criminals lure their targets by professing their love for them with poems, gifts, flowers and more.

“The scammers do not discriminate, but most commonly they will try to target people who appear to be divorced, widowed, elderly or disabled,” Kowel said.

The schemes range from money laundering to cryptocurrency racketeering, all aimed at draining your finances.

“We’ve seen victims who have sent their life savings or retirement funds or pension funds, sometimes we can get them back,” Kowel said. “But it really depends on how quickly we get the notification.”

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