The Federal Trade Commission has released data showing that romance fraud cost more money than other types of consumer fraud reported to the agency last year – and the problem is getting worse. Romance scammers target people via dating sites and apps or social media, often using fake profiles and sobs to convince victims to send them large sums of money.
The number of romance scams reported to the FTC increased from 8500 in 2015 to 21,000 in the last year. Reported losses from these scams increased more than fourfold from $ 33 million in 2015 to $ 143 million a year ago. 2018 figures are based on 21,368 reports submitted to Consumer Sentinel by FTC, a consumer complaints database.
Romance scams were particularly costly for individual victims. The median loss reported by the scammers of romance fraud was $ 2,600, or seven times more than the median loss for other types of fraud. People between the ages of 40 and 69 said they were losing money for romantic scams, twice as fast as 20-year-olds, but the elderly lost larger amounts, with victims at the age of 70 and over, the largest median losses at $ 1
The FTC says that the majority of the victims were asked to transfer money, while the second largest group was asked to use gift or recharge cards such as Moneypak. These are all methods that are fast and usually difficult to undo and that allow recipients to be anonymous. Romance scammers often claim that they need money for medical and other emergencies, and apologize for not being able to meet their goals in person, such as being stationed in the military and stationed overseas or not having enough money to to travel.
To prevent victims, the FTC recommends reversing image profile photos to see if a profile is wrong, not sending money to people you did not meet in person, and with To be open to family and friends about online relationships