The Federal Trace Commission (FTC) released data regarding the common lies sold by romance scammers. FTC reports have shown that romance scams cost nearly 70,000 consumers $1.3 billion in 2022.
The new data spotlight breaks down the most common lies that consumers reported being told when they were contacted by romance scammers last year:
- "I, or someone close to me, is sick, hurt or in jail"
- "I can teach you how to invest"
- "I'm in the military far away"
- "I need help with an important delivery"
- "Let's talk about marriage"
- "I've come into money"
- "I'm on an oil rig"
- "You can trust me with your pictures"
The data spotlight also highlights a growing tactic used by romance scammers: sextortion, when a romance scammer convinces a consumer to share explicit photos and then threatens to share those photos with the consumer’s social media contacts. The spotlight notes these reports have increased more than eightfold in the past three years, with consumers ages 18-29 six times more likely than older consumers to report this form of romance scam.
According to the spotlight, consumers most often report being contacted by romance scammers via social media, though they often push to move to other messaging apps. Security leaders should train employees on how to recognize and report scammers, especially if they're logged into company accounts on personal devices.