FTC reveals people lost $547 million to ‘romance scams’ in 2021

Written by ESR news blog editor Thomas Ahearn

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed that would-be lovers reported losing $1.3 billion over the past five years and a record $547 million in 2021 for “romance scams” that are committed during online dating, which creates opportunities for scammers, according to a FTC Blog.

The FTC said the number of “romance scams” ​​has skyrocketed in recent years and the record loss of $547 million in 2021 was more than six times the loss reported in 2017 and an increase of nearly 80%. compared to 2020, more than any other FTC fraud category. The median loss reported by an individual in 2021 was $2,400.

“Reports show that romance scammers are masters of disguise. They create fake online profiles with attractive photos taken from the web. Sometimes they even assume the identities of real people. share online and then pretend to have common interests,” said the FTC Blog Explain.

“Love scammers weave all sorts of believable stories to scam people, but their old vigil involves cries for help while claiming one financial or health crisis after another. People who have lost money to a romantic scammer often report sending money repeatedly: they think they are helping someone they care about. But this is all a lie.

Reports of romance scams increased most dramatically for people aged 18 to 29, where the number of reports increased more than tenfold from 2017 to 2021. But the median reported loss increased with age, people 70+ who reported individual median losses of $9,000 versus $750. for the 18 to 29 age group.

The FTC blog offers tips on how to spot romance scammers for people looking for romance online. Potential lovers can help stop romance scammers by reporting suspicious profiles or messages to dating apps, social media platforms, and the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Learn more about romance scams at ftc.gov/romancescams.

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