70,000 people praying for love fell prey to a romance scam, report reveals

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 12:49 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (WAFB) - A new report by the Federal Trade commission reveals thousands of unsuspecting lovestruck people fell prey to a romance scam last year.

Approximately 70,000 victims collectively lost $1.3 billion, according to the FTC. The IRS Criminal Investigation’s Atlanta Field Office recently shared warnings about different types of romance scams.

IRS Criminal Investigation released tips to protect you from romance scams.
IRS Criminal Investigation released tips to protect you from romance scams.(MGN)

“Investigating criminals defrauding innocent victims through romance scams is just one of the various crimes our special agents investigate,” said Demetrius Hardeman, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “These scams leave many victims financially devastated and emotionally manipulated.”

The criminals create fake online profiles, usually on social media applications and dating websites, and attempt to build phony emotional attachments until a potential victim is comfortable sending them money. Many of scammers find victims by pulling online public information, which they use to do research.

“It is important that people are careful of people they meet through social media sites,” Hardeman said. “Many of these scammers are very patient and will wait weeks or months to gain a victim’s trust.”


  • Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.
  • Be careful what you post and make public online.
  • When starting a new relationship, take it slow, and ask lots of questions.
  • Be alert to those who seem too perfect or quickly ask you to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate by other means.
  • Beware of those who want to isolate you from friends and family.
  • Don’t share inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
  • Be suspicious if the individual promises to meet in person but then never does.

“Many of the criminals involved with romance scams are part of an organized crime group,” Hardeman said. “People who suspect they have become victims of romance scams can make a report to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.”

IRS Criminal Investigation shares warning about romance scams.
IRS Criminal Investigation shares warning about romance scams.(IRS)

To report romance scams or other types of online crimes, victims can make a report here.

The IRS Criminal Investigation contributed to the information in this article.

Click here to report a typo.