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FTC: Online Dating Scams Are on Rise

Love means never having to say "Where do I wire the money?" That was one of the messages from the Federal Trade Commission this week.  

With Valentines Day approaching, the FTC issued a warning about online dating scams, along with some sobering statistics about the price of un-true love. 

Over the past two years, reported monetary losses from dating scams topped all other scams reported to the FTC, which has produced a YouTube video with online dating scam don'ts and more don'ts--don't wire money, don't send gift cards, don't keep communicating (but do contact the FTC). 

According to the commission, consumers reported losing over $200 million to online dating scams in 2019, up almost 40% over the year before. That translated to 25,000 consumer complaints to the FCC--and likely there were more that went unreported by the embarrassed targets of the scams. 

"Reports of romance scams are growing, and costing people a lot of cash. According to new FTC data, the number of romance scams people report to the FTC has nearly tripled since 2015," blogged Cristina Miranda of the FTC's Division of Consumer and Business Education. "Even more, the total amount of money people reported losing in 2019 is six times higher than it was five years ago – from $33 million lost to romance scammers in 2015 to $201 million in 2019.