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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Five agencies launch effort to address romance scams

Federal Issues FinCEN CFTC CFPB ICE U.S. Postal Inspection Service FTC Consumer Finance Consumer Protection

Federal Issues

On February 7, the CFTC, FinCEN, CFPB, ICE, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service launched the nationwide awareness effort “Dating or Defrauding?” to remind the public about the ongoing dangers of romance scams that target individuals through dating apps or social media. The agencies draw attention to new types of scams that have costs victims millions of dollars, and highlight recent FTC studies showing that 2020 was a record year for romance scams with the number of these types of complaints continuing to increase in 2021. According to a January FTC blog post (covered by InfoBytes here), more than 95,000 people reported about $770 million in losses to fraud initiated on social media platforms in 2021, with investment scams and romance scams having the most reported dollars lost. A recent FTC data spotlight showed that consumers reported losing $547 million to romance scams in 2021 alone. The agencies’ initiative provides guidance on how to recognize scams before individuals give away any money or assets, as well as measures to take if they have been victimized.