Scammers who use love to target consumers can take both an emotional and a financial toll on their victims. New complaint data from the Federal Trade Commission shows romance scams generated more reported losses than any other consumer fraud type reported to the agency in 2018.
The FTC reports that romance scammers "often find their victims online through a dating site or app or via social media. These scammers create phony profiles that often involve the use of a stranger’s photo they have found online. The goals of these scams are often the same: to gain the victim’s trust and love in order to get them to send money through a wire transfer, gift card, or other means."
The number of romance scams reported to the FTC exceeded 21,000 in 2018, representing losses totaling $143 million. The median reported loss was $2,600; for people 70 and over, the median loss was $10,000.
The FTC's report is here.