FTC Warns of Increase in Romance Scams, Especially Targeting Older Adults
Seniors made 23,053 online fraud reports in 2020 – 2,150 of those reports were said to be romance scams: FTC
By Cortney Moore | Fox News
An increasing number of American seniors have been targeted for romance scams during the pandemic.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published an updated report on the top scams that have cost seniors aged 60 and up millions of dollars.
“Romance scams; prize, sweepstakes and lottery scams; and business impersonator scams caused the highest aggregate reported losses for older adults,” the FTC wrote in its 55-page Protecting Older Consumers 2021 — 2021 report, which was published and submitted to Congress on Monday, Oct. 18.
…In 2019, American seniors lost around $84 million to online scammers who posed as potential love interests on dating apps. That number rose to $139 million in 2020 – a 65.5% increase in a single year.
“Reported losses to romance scams have increased significantly in recent years, and this trend accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the FTC continued. “Among older adults, hardest hit were the 60-69 and 70-79 age groups, which reported $129 million of the 2020 reported losses, making romance scams the category of highest reported losses for both groups.”
…Romance scammers reportedly accepted money through bank transfers and direct payments ($31 million) and cryptocurrency ($12 million) in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was often cited as a reason for needing money.
…According to the FTC, seniors under the age of 80 reported a median loss of $308 while seniors who are 80 and older reported a median loss of $798
Roughly $10.5 million were lost to romance scammers who used the pandemic as a means to request money and a reason to not meet in person..