Love Scams Rose 80 Percent In 2021


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Romance scams on dating apps and social media hit record highs in 2021, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

A total of Five-hundred forty-seven million dollars was lost to love scams in 2021, an 80-percent increase when compared to 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported Feb. 10. In the last five years, people looking for love lost upwards of $1.3 billions from scammers, who were described as “masters of disguise” by the FTC.

Most victims reported being contacted on dating apps, but “unexpected private messages” on social media platforms were also common. More than a third of people lost money to scammers after they were contacted via Facebook or Instagram, the FTC noted.

Two Ghanian nationals, Linda Mbimadong and Richard Broni, were sentenced t0 36 months and 19 months in prison, respectively, after scamming more than $500,000 from a 78-year-old victim via the dating app iFlirts, according to ABC. The scammers also targeted a 74-year-old woman, stealing $80,000 from her savings account, reported People.

Seniors are not alone in their victimhood of romance scams. These types of cons rose for every age group throughout 2021, with reports from people aged 18 to 29 increasing ten-fold between 2017 to 2021, the FTC added. (RELATED: OnlyFans Model Claims She Was Kicked Off Dating Apps For Being ‘Too Hot’)

Most victims were lured by bogus investments, particularly in cryptocurrency — $139 million was lost to cryptocurrency scams in 2021.

“2021 numbers are nearly five times those reported in 2020, and 25 times those reported in 2019,” the FTC wrote.

The report comes after the release of a new Netflix movie, The Tinder Swindler, which tells the story of “Simon Leviev” (real name Shimon Hayut), who is accused of stealing upwards of $10 million from women he connected with via Tinder. Leviev has told Inside Edition that he is not the “Tinder Swindler,” despite the cases made against him and two prior imprisonments for fraud, forgery, and theft, according to The Sun.

Leviev was released from prison in Israel after serving five months of a 15-month sentence, and was subsequently banned from using Tinder but is still highly active on Instagram, according to another report from People. Tinder issued updated guidance on romance scams following the release of the Netflix movie, warning users of “lovebombing” and to be weary if another user asks for personal information too quickly.