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Is it love? No. Romance scams multiply online, now the largest consumer fraud reported, says FTC

The FTC says romance related scams have increased and generated more losses than any other user of fraud reported last year. (iStock)

The Federal Trade Commission is the protection of America’s consumers for more than 100 years, and just in time for Valentine’s day, it wants to help in the protection of your money if you open up your heart for love.

FITNESS INFLUENCER UNDER FIRE FOR ALLEGEDLY DEFRAUDING CLIENTS

Romance related scams have increased and generated more losses than any other user of fraud reported last year, the FTC reported.

The number of romance scams jumped from 8,500 in 2015, more than 21,000 in 2018. And the amount lost by victims has quadrupled over that period — reaching $143 million last year, the FTC reported. The median reported loss was $2,600, about seven times more than the other fraud tracked by the FTC.

Criminals usually find their victims online. Scammers create fake profiles on dating or social media sites to build trust, until they see a chance to ask for money.

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Anyone can be a victim, but it happened often in those between 40 and 69 years old. But the people of 70 and older paid out the most, with a median loss of $10,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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