Happy Valentine’s Day: The Most Expensive Scams Involve Romance, FTC Warns

February 14, 2019, 6:13 PM UTC

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an estimated $20.7 billion on Valentine’s Day this year. And although a sizable amount of that spending will go to pets—$886 million, to be exact—let’s hope that a slimmer sum will be spent on catfish.

Preferring red flags to red roses, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) delivered a strong warning to consumers Tuesday in a report noting that romantic scams are more expensive than any other kind of scam in the U.S.

In fact, the FTC measures that Americans lost $143 million in romantic scams in 2018, which is quadruple the $30 million lost to catfishers in 2015. And that’s from those who reported it to the FTC. (As opposed to telling television networks in an attempt to trade monetary losses for a shot at celebrity.)

While only 8,500 reported romantic scams to the FTC in 2015, the number has increased to more than 21,000 in 2018. While the median reported loss was $2,600, the FTC said that the median increased to $10,000 for people over 70 years old.

The victims of romantic scams certainly aren’t alone. And if you fall into this category, might we suggest giving your catfisher the final $2 Valentine’s Day gift of a cockroach named in their honor.