Washington, D.C. — Today, five federal agencies joined forces to remind the public about the ongoing dangers of romance scams. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) have launched Dating or Defrauding?, a national awareness effort to alert the public to romance scams that target victims largely through dating apps or social media. The campaign is supported by USAGov/Outreach, a division of the U.S. General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services.
Romance scams are not new, but with the proliferation of online dating apps, social media, and even messaging apps, new types of scams are emerging that target new audiences and have drained victims of millions of dollars. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 2020 was a record year for romance scams. Consumer reports to the FTC indicate that the number of romance scam complaints continued to increase through 2021. A year-over-year comparison through the third quarter showed a 48 percent increase in reported romance frauds.
The joint federal agencies’ initiative shows the public how to recognize the scams before they give any money or assets and provides steps to take if they are victimized. Over the coming weeks, the interagency Dating or Defrauding? awareness campaign will reach the public via social media, local and national media outreach, and public-private partnerships to encourage them to be vigilant when making online love connections.
, CFPB’s Office for Older Americans, DHS/ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Treasury’s FinCEN.