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FTC data shows Romance scams hit record high

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BBB: Tips for a Fraud Free 2021
Posted at 6:43 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 19:50:20-05

New data from the Federal Trade Commission shows that more consumers than ever report falling prey to romance scammers. Consumers reported losing $547 million in 2021 alone.

In 2021 romance scams were up nearly 80 percent compared to 2020.

Over the past five years, scammers have stolen close to $1.3 billion.  

Katie Galan with the Better Business Bureau says, "romance scammers draw people in using pictures stolen from around the internet, building false personas that seem just real enough to be true, but always having a reason never to meet in person."

Galan says, eventually, the supposed suitor will ask for money from the unwitting consumer. The impact can be major, with a median loss of $2,400 reported to the FTC.

While many people report the romance scam started on a dating site or app, some say a scammer found their info on through social media.

Another trend in 2021 was an increase in reports of romance scammers luring consumers into phony crypto-currency investment schemes. According to the spotlight, consumers who paid romance scammers with crypto-currency reported losing $139 million in total in 2021; more than any other payment amount. The median loss for consumers who reported paying a romance scammer with crypto-currency was nearly $10,000.

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