Romance Scams Increased Nearly 80 Percent in 2021 #nigeria | #nigeriascams | #lovescams

The Federal Trade Commission has revealed data showing romance scams reached an all-time high in 2021, jumping about 80% from 2020, ABC News reports.

$1.3 billion was lost by victims of the scams in the past five years alone, according to the FTC.

In one of the most recent cases, a man and woman — Ghanian nationals Linda Mbimadong and Richard Broni — were sentenced on Friday in Alexandria, Va., after helping scam a 78-year-old out of more than $500,000 on the dating app iFlirts.

The Washington Post reports the two were sentenced to 36 months and 19 months in prison, respectively.

In a news release issued last May, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia stated the unidentified man was scammed out of $580,000 and the two were charged at the time with wire and mail fraud.

The office did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment on the sentencing or whether Mbimadong and Broni had obtained attorneys.

Mbimadong and Broni’s second victim was a 74-year-old woman, who was defrauded out of $80,000 from her savings account, the news release added.

“The defendants allegedly impersonated military servicemembers, diplomats, and others to deprive elderly victims of their retirement savings,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia at the time the charges.

“Working with our law enforcement partners, EDVA will aggressively pursue the perpetrators of scams that prey on vulnerable members of our communities.”


The FTC’s new findings on the increase in romance scams comes as Netflix’s true-crime documentary The Tinder Swindler has gained popularity on the streaming platform. The two-hour film, which premiered on Feb. 2, chronicles the real-life events of Simon Leviev, who is accused of conning an estimated $10 million out of women he attracted on the popular dating app Tinder.

The documentary features the shocking stories of Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjöholm, and Ayleen Charlotte — three women who claimed to have fallen victim to Leviev.

However, in his upcoming first interview since the Netflix release, Leviev denies wrongdoing, telling Inside Edition, “I was just a single guy that wanted to meet some girls on Tinder. “I am not a Tinder Swindler.”

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