ALBANY — The state Senate passed legislation this week that would require financial institutions to warn customers about potential romantic scams.
The bill making its way through the Legislature was fueled in part by Netflix’s "The Tinder Swindler," a documentary about a con artist that stole an estimated $10 million from women he met on the Tinder app.
In a statement, state Sen. Michael Gianaris, D-Queens, said, “This Valentine’s Day, New York has no love for those who seek to scam people out of their money. This bill hits a ripped-from-the-headlines problem that’s costing people millions of dollars. New Yorkers deserve the strongest protections against predators and fraud. I am committed to keeping everyone safe from these scammers.”
Statistics from the Federal Trade Commission indicate that more than 56,000 Americans reported losing over $547 million in romance scams last year.
If the legislation is approved and signed into law, money transmitters such as banks would need to issue cautionary messages to consumers wanting to send funds electronically, including giving alerts about the dangers of fraud and how to stop a transaction.
Elderly people are more likely to experience financial exploitation. According to the Government Accountability Office, seniors lose at least $2.9 billion annually to schemers.