Valentines Day gift scams are on the rise

Valentines Day scams are increasing every year and with more people finding love on the internet, it's pretty easy to know why!

According to a recently published story in USA Today, romance scams soared last year, with the number of reported hoaxes rising to nearly 21,400 from about 16,900 in 2017, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Reported losses also ballooned, from $88 million to $143 million, more than any other type of consumer fraud.

The spread of such cons in recent years is even more dramatic. In 2015, there were about 8,500 romance scams that amounted to $33 million in losses.

Romance scammers often find their victims online through a dating site, app or social media, the FTC says. They typically create phony profiles using a stranger’s photo they found online, making up a name or assuming the identity of a real person.

“Once these fraudsters have people by the heartstrings, they say they need money, often for a medical emergency or some other misfortune,” the agency says. They often say they’re in the military and based abroad – that’s why they can’t meet in person. A common ruse: They need help with travel costs for a long-anticipated visit.

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