Love truly is blind. That’s according to a recent report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which found that in 2019, Americans were scammed out of $201 million due to dating fraud.
The FTC’s study showed that the $201 million mark was a 40 percent increase in dating fraud since 2018. The number of dating scam complaints filed to the FTC in 2019 was more than 25,000, making it the most reported type of consumer fraud. The average American who was conned via an online dating scam lost about $500. Monica Vaca, the FTC’s associate director, told Marketwatch that dating fraud complaints have been on the rise since 2015. “These are long-term scams that don’t happen just once because the people committing these crimes try to cultivate a trusting relationship with the victim,” said Vaca.
The big reason for the uptick in dating scams? More consumers are using dating sites and apps. Marketwatch reports that 60 percent of American adults view online dating as a “good way to connect with people.”
The best way to avoid online dating fraud is to be aware of the red flags. The FTC recommends being wary of anyone who claims they’re traveling outside of America and need money wired to return to the states. Some scammers even claim to be in the military. The bottom line is that you should never send money to someone you have yet to meet in person. If you think you’re being conned, report the incident to the FTC.