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Looking for love online? You may want to use some extra caution.
A new notice released Tuesday by the Federal Trade Commission highlights a surge in 'romance scams,' or scenarios where scammers trick love-lusting internet users into sending them money, only to later disappear.
Cost - Victims - Year - Type - Consumer
The scams cost victims an astonishing $143 million in 2018, up from $33 million the previous year and making it the most costly type of consumer fraud reported to the FTC.
These romance scams typically involve a user creating a phony profile and approaching someone via a dating app or website.
Profiles - Photo - User - Someone
The phony profiles tend to use a fake photo to deceive the other user into thinking they're someone they're not.
Over time, cybercriminals gain the victim's trust and love with the goal of getting them to send money via gift cards, wire transfer and other ways, the FTC noted.
Romance - Scams - Users - FTC - Years
Romance scams have continued to rise as more and more users reported them to the FTC in recent years.
The FTC received 21,000 user complaints of romance scams in 2018, which is a stark increase from the 8,500 complaints it received in 2015.
Appear - FTC - Users - Loss
And the elderly appear to have gotten hit the most financially: The FTC said users over 70 reported an average loss of $10,000.
The median reported loss overall was $2,600, the agency noted.
Users - Ages - Risk
However, users between the ages of 40 and 69 are most at risk of getting...
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