The FTC warns of the dangers of romance scams which ranks #1 in total reported losses for victims

People looking for romance are hoping to be swept off their feet, not caught up in a scam. But tens of thousands of reports in Consumer Sentinel show that a scam is what many people find. In 2018, Sentinel had more than 21,000 reports about romance scams, and people reported losing a total of $143 million – that’s more than any other consumer fraud type identified in Sentinel.1 These reports are rising steadily. In 2015, by comparison, people filed 8,500 Sentinel reports with dollar losses of $33 million.

How to Recognize a Scam Artist — The relationship may not be what you think, especially if your sweetheart:

* wants to leave the dating site immediately and use personal email or IM
* claims love in a heartbeat
* claims to be from the U.S., but is traveling or working overseas
* plans to visit, but is prevented by a traumatic event or a business deal gone sour
* Scammers also like to say they’re out of the country for business or military service.

What You Can Do About It — You may lose your heart, but you don’t have to lose your shirt, too.   Don’t wire money to cover:

* travel
* medical emergencies
* hotel bills
* hospital bills for a child or other relative
* visas or other official documents
* losses from a temporary financial setback