Two days before Valentine’s Day, the Federal Trade Commission has reported that romance scams are on the rise, and that they often hurt their victims both emotionally and financially.
There were 21,000 romance scams last year, up from 8,500 in 2015. And the personal losses quadrupled, from $33 million in 2015 to $143 million in 2018.
The median reported loss was $2,600. For those ages 70 and over, the loss was $10,000.
Typically, romance scammers find their victims online through a dating site, app, or social media. Then they sweet-talk them through various means.
Their goal is to con the lovesick victims into sending money through a wire transfer, gift card or other means.