Lonely hearts break the bank: Romance scams cost people $143m last year

The FDA says romance-related scams cost people $143m in 2018, up from $33m in 2015.

February 14, 2019

For those of you coddling your lonely heart on V-day, just know that your days of romantic solitude could be so much worse.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported more than 21k Americans fell victim to romance-based scams in 2018, losing a total of $143m.

The FTC said it received more reports of “romance scams” than other consumer-facing fraud last year and that con-jobs involving dating or “courtship” are becoming more popular by the year.

Roses are red, violets are blue, boy do we got a scam for you

According to The Hill, romance-related schemes involve scammers putting on their charm pants through fake profiles on social media.

Once heart-thieves woo their victims, they strike; usually asking their love-drunk targets to send cash for fake emergencies or other made-up expenses.

Scammers usually target Americans, age 40 to 69, who fall victim to romantic scams twice as often as 20-somethings, with a median loss of $10k. Overall, the median was $2.6k — roughly 7x higher than the median loss across other types of fraud.

Happy Valentine’s Day

In 2017, Americans shelled out $18.2B  for Valentine’s Day, a holiday that, no matter how you break the Russell Stover-shaped heart, either leaves you feeling sad, broke or, at the least, stressed — and while it puts the “corporate” in “corporate holiday,” it doesn’t even give us work off! 

All the while, people are getting lonelier by the year, with the cost of romance-related scams jumping from $33m in 2015 to more than $143m in 2018.  

Bottom line: Love is chill. Roses die. Don’t get scammed.

Daily briefings, straight to your inbox

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

Join over 1 million people who read The Hustle


How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

Join us, it's free.

Look, you came to this site because you saw something cool. But here’s the deal. This site is actually a daily email that covers the important news in business, tech, and culture.

So, if you like what you’re reading, give the email a try.

If you don’t like it, unsubscribe any time. Privacy policy.