Romance scams steal hearts, money: What to know

This Valentine’s Day, the FTC is reminding consumers that romance scammers tell all sorts of lies to steal hearts and money — no matter what time of year.

The FTC says those lies are working. In 2022, nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam, and reported losses hit a staggering $1.3 billion. The median reported loss: $4,400, according to the FTC.

Scammers pay close attention to the information you share, and don’t miss a beat becoming your perfect match. You like a thing, so that’s their thing, too. You’re looking to settle down. They’re ready too. But there is one exception — you want to meet in real life, and they can’t.

Reports show their excuse is often baked right into their fake identity. Claiming to be on a faraway military base is the most popular excuse, but “offshore oil rig worker” is another common (and fake) occupation. In short, there’s no end to the lies romance scammers will tell to get your money, according to the FTC.

How can you spot a romance scammer in the act?

  • Nobody legit will ever ask you to help — or insist that you invest — by sending cryptocurrency, giving the numbers on a gift card, or by wiring money. Anyone who does is a scammer.
  • If someone tells you to send money to receive a package, you can bet it’s a scam.
  • Talk to friends or family about a new love interest and pay attention if they’re concerned.
  • Try a reverse image search of profile pictures. If the details don’t match up, it’s a scam.

Help stop scammers by reporting suspicious profiles or messages to the dating app or social media platform. Then, tell the FTC at If someone is trying to extort you, report it to the FBI. Learn more about romance scams on the FTC webpage.

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