The FBI has reported that Americans have lost nearly $133,400,000 from online romance scams during the first seven months of 2021, according to BleepingComputer.
"The FBI warns of a rising trend in which scammers are defrauding victims via online romance scams, persuading individuals to send money to allegedly invest or trade cryptocurrency," said the FBI in a public service announcement on its Internet Crime Complaint Center site.
Individuals could protect themselves from romance scams by avoiding sending cash, trading or investing based on advice of people met online; refraining financial status disclosures to unknown and untrusted people; and ensuring that their Social Security number, banking data and other sensitive data are not shared to anyone online or to websites with questionable legitimacy, said the FBI.
More than $1 billion have been lost to romance scams between 2019 and 2020, according to reports from the FBI's IC3. The Department of Justice has also provided a list of hundreds of cases involving fraudsters operating massive romance scams.