Print Friendly and PDF
Price gouging from food industry keeps food prices up, watchdog group says
Large banks charge higher credit card interest rates and fees than small banks and credit unions, survey finds

On this day of love, be wary of romance scams

Chocolate-mousse-Heart Shaped 8531996_640It breaks my heart every time I see a story on television about a romance scam. The people, often older women, have been taken in by fast-talking scammers who have honed their skills in carrying out big romance lies.

Right now, as I’m writing this, I’m listening to story on TV about a woman who lost $100,000 to a romance scam.

The cases Dr. Phil reports on are so upsetting. One retired woman lost all her money and had to go and live with her brother. Another sent two cars to Nigeria so she and her fiancé could each have a car when she got there.

Romance scammers stole more than $1 billion from people last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

How do the scams start, and what can you do to avoid one?

Romance scammers use lots of tricks to meet people. They might find you on a dating site, send you a surprise friend request on social media, or start a chat with you on a gaming site. If you answer, they’ll flood you with attention and want to talk every day.

But soon, their focus is on money – your money. The love interest – who’s really a scammer – claims they desperately need you to send them money for an emergency, but the reason they give you is a lie. Or they pressure you to invest in cryptocurrency with their help, but they’re really steering you into an investment scam. 

If you send or invest money, it’s probably gone forever.

Take steps to avoid a romance scammer, advises Bridget Small, consumer education specialist for the FTC:

  • Be cautious when you get a surprise direct message or friend request on social media. Try to limit who can see your posts and information by setting restrictions on your privacy settings.
  • Don’t send money to an online love interest or anyone who demands payment with cryptocurrency, gift cards, wire transfers, or a payment app. Only scammers tell you to pay those ways.
  • Learn the signs of an investment scam, such as when someone claims they have a secret method to make money. Visit for more advice on investing and avoiding fraud.

Scams starting on social media accounted for the highest total losses at $1.4 billion – an increase of $250 million from 2022. But scams that started by a phone call caused the highest per-person loss, $1,480 average loss.

Of people who reported their age, younger adults, 20-29, reported losing money more often than older adults, 70-plus. However, when older adults lost money, they lost the most.

If you think someone is a scammer, cut off contact. Tell the online app or social media platform right away, and then report it to the FTC at


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)