(WAVY) — There are scammers out there that are working hard to steal your heart and your money, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
“Romance scams,” as the FTC calls them, were to blame for the highest total of monetary loss via scam reported to the agency last year.
Citizens reported losing a combined total of $143 million thanks to these types of scams, according to the FTC.
What are romance scams? The FTC says they involve scammers using dating apps and social media to “woo” an individual into sending them money.
Often these scammers use “catfishing” techniques to lure people in, like a fake identity. Then, the FTC says, they typically ask for a money transfer or a gift card for things like a medical emergency or coming to visit you.
The FTC offers the following tips for avoiding these romance scams:
- Never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you haven’t met in person.
- Take it slowly. Ask questions and look for inconsistent answers. Check the person’s photo using your search engine’s “search by image” feature. If the same picture shows up with a different name, that’s a red flag.
- Talk to someone about this new love interest and pay attention if your friends or family are concerned.
- If you suspect a romance scam, cut off contact right away. Then, report to the scam to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Notify the dating site where you met the scammer, too.