The current COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent stay-at-home and social distancing directives might have played a major role in romance scams losses reaching record levels in 2020, the US Federal Trade Commission said in a report last week. ZDNet reports:
Total losses were estimated at a record $304 million, up about 50% from 2019, with the average loss last year being estimated at $2,500 per individual.
“From 2016 to 2020, reported total dollar losses increased more than fourfold, and the number of reports nearly tripled,” the agency said.
The FTC believes that the 50% spike in extra losses recorded in 2020 can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has limited people’s ability to meet in person and has forced more users towards using online long-distance and impersonal communications, such as dating apps.
In most cases, the ruse of these scams is that the targets of a romance scam have to send money back to the crooks.