Updated Feb 14, 2022 - Economy

Romance scams reach five year high

Annual reported losses from romance scams
Reproduced from FTC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Maybe your Valentine’s Day date should start with a background check.

Driving the news: Romance scams have reached at least a five-year high, according to reports submitted to the Federal Trade Commission.

By the numbers: 56,000 Americans reported losing $547 million in love-bait ploys in 2021, up from 17,000 reporting $87 million in losses in 2017.

  • The new Netflix documentary “The Tinder Swindler” details the exploits of alleged serial conman Shimon Hayut, who “was able to scam women out of approximately $10 million” through dating apps, according to GQ. He has reportedly denied the allegations.

How it works: Romance scammers often use fake online profiles with attractive photos, according to the FTC.

  • They will often avoid meeting in person, creating elaborate stories as to why they can't, the FTC reports.
  • More than one-third of romance scams started on Facebook or Instagram in 2021.

The bottom line: If your prospective love interest wants money, swipe left.

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