As more and more Americans turn to online dating services to find love, a growing number are falling victim to "romance scams." A new report released by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that in 2018, Americans lost $143 million to scammers who tricked them into falling in love before asking them for money.
The report said these scams are the most prevalent type of fraud in the country, with a median reported loss of $2,600 per person. Most of the money is sent using gift cards or a money wiring service. People between the ages of 40 and 69 are most likely to fall victim to the scammers.
"In 2018, consumers reported the most fraud losses from any other category of fraud in emotional romance scams," Monica Vaca of the Federal Trade Commission said. "That's $143 million that consumers reported that they lost in 2018 to romance scams."
The FTC warned people who use online dating sites and apps to be vigilant and advised them never to send money to an online lover for any reason. Many times the scammers will weave tales of medical or family emergencies to pull at the heartstrings of their victims.
If you believe you are the victim of a scam or that somebody is trying to dupe you, the FTC said that you should report the profile to the dating site you are using, along with sending a report to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
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