PROVIDENCE R.I. (WPRI) — While love is in the air in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, experts are warning to not let it cloud your judgment.
New data from the Federal Trade Commission shows the number of reports of romance scams has nearly tripled since 2015, prompting the agency to note: “it’s not true love if they ask for money.”
The total amount of money people reported losing to these scams last year is six times higher than it was five years ago, up from $33 million to $201 million, according to the FTC.
Experts warn to beware of online dating scams, which tend to spike during this time of year. Millions of Americans have tried dating websites and the FTC says since there are so many people on there, it’s unfortunately made scammers’ work much easier.
The signs of a scam include: professing love quickly, claiming to be from the U.S. but currently overseas for work or military service, claiming to need money for emergencies, and saying they want to visit but can’t because of an emergency.
The FTC recommends engaging in at least one video chat with the person so you can see if they’re who they claim to be, and never sharing your financial information online.
Experts say the elderly are most likely to be victimized by online dating scams because they are the most vulnerable and often looking for companionship.