Live 5 Scambusters: Romance scams are on the rise

Live 5 Scambusters: Romance scams are on the rise

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Heartbreak is nothing new if you put your heart out there, but tens of thousands of people are putting a price on their own heartache.

The online romance scam is now one of the fastest growing scams out there. Scammers target victims through dating sites or social media. A scammer will create a profile using someone else’s name and picture, pretend to fall in love with victims, and even lead them to believe marriage is in the cards. At some point, the scammer asks for money and the victim almost willingly complies.

The Federal Trade Commission just released new data ahead of Valentine’s Day, highlighting the growth of online romance scams. The FTC got more reports about these scams than any other type of online consumer fraud in 2018.

The number of reported romance scams has more than doubled in recent years. The FTC received 8,500 in 2015 to more than 21,000 in 2018. The reported losses have increased at an even faster rate, more than quadrupling from 33 million to 143 million in the same time frame.

These Casanova con artists target older victims twice as much as younger marks. Victims 70 and older reported median losses at $10,000.

If you think you’ve been a victim of an online romance scam, be sure to tell your family and report the crime to the FBI here and the FTC here.

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at Scams@live5news.com.

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