Online Romance Scams – Dating Scam Statistics 2023


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In recent years dating has transcended the limitations of meeting people solely in person. With over 57 million individuals using dating apps in the United States and over 7 million in Canada, the opportunity to connect with others online has never been more convenient. Unfortunately, not everyone on these platforms has genuine intentions. Some individuals exploit these apps to carry out romance scams.

According to the FBI, reports of online scams have surged by almost 25% since 2019, resulting in a staggering loss of $547 million in 2021 for those who fell victim to the deception of their cyber companions.

At Haywood Hunt & Associates Inc., we have compiled 25 important statistics that show the extent of Romance Scams in 2023.

What exactly is a romance scam, and what types of scams exist?

A romance scam, also referred to as an online dating scam, occurs when an individual is deceived into believing they are in a romantic relationship with someone they met online, only to discover that their supposed partner is actually a cybercriminal assuming a fake identity. These impostors gradually gain the victim’s trust to the point where they ask for money or resort to blackmail.

Here are some of the most common types of internet dating scams:

  1. Intimate activity scams: Scammers establish connections with their targets across various social media platforms. Once they grow closer, the scammer coerces the victim into undressing and then threatens to expose recorded footage unless their demands are met.
  2. Inheritance scams: Scammers convince their targets that getting married is necessary to claim an inheritance. They then request financial assistance, such as funding for airfare.
  3. Photo scams: Scammers manipulate their targets into sharing personal information by promising intimate photos in return.
  4. Military romance scams: The scammer poses as a deployed military member, employing military jargon and titles to establish trust before requesting money to cover supposed military-related expenses, such as travel expenses back home.
  5. Fake dating sites: Scam dating sites masquerade as legitimate platforms but are, in reality, infested with scammers or have a sparse user base. Their primary objective is to extract your personal information.
  6. Code verification scams: Scammers send fraudulent verification codes via email or text, impersonating dating apps or websites. Clicking on these codes leads to requests for personal information, including Social Security numbers and credit card details.
  7. Malware scams: Dating sites are also susceptible to malware. In this scenario, scammers engage with victims and direct them to seemingly legitimate websites that actually contain malware.
  8. Intimate activity scams: Scammers establish connections with their targets across various social media platforms. Once they grow closer, the scammer coerces the victim into undressing and then threatens to expose recorded footage unless their demands are met.

Online Dating Scam (Romance Scam) Statistics 2023

The prevalence of online dating scams is a harsh reality that many people in search of love have unfortunately experienced. To shed light on this issue, here are some statistics and trends regarding online dating scams for 2023:

Online Dating Scams are on the Rise

  1. Social media platforms, particularly Facebook and Instagram, have been the starting point for over a third of reported financial losses due to online romance scams in 2021. *
  2. More than 36,000 people reported social media as the tool used for facilitating online crimes. **
  3. The number of romance scam reports to the FTC in 2021 was more than triple the amount reported in 2017. (FTC, February 2022)
  4. In 2021, over 55,000 consumers filed reports with the FTC about romance scams. *
  5. Approximately 24,000 individuals fell victim to confidence/romance scams in 2021. **

Women are also at a higher risk of falling victim to romance scams:

  1. Romance scams have a 36% susceptibility risk for their targets, with women being more susceptible than men. ***
  2. Romance scams are the second riskiest scam type for women, following online purchase scams. ***
  3. Californians lost the most money to dating scams in 2021, with losses amounting to nearly $184 million. *****
  4. In 2020, more than 3,000 people in California were scammed in confidence/romance scams. *****

Older adults are particularly vulnerable to romance scams:

  1. People in the 55-64 age group are at the highest risk of falling victim to romance scams. ***
  2. In 2020, older adults lost nearly $139 million to romance scams, making it the highest reported loss compared to other scams. ****
  3. Wire transfers accounted for 68% of the reported dollars lost to romance scams by older adults in 2020. ****
  4. Bank transfers and payments associated with romance scams made up approximately $31 million of the reported losses by older adults. ****
  5. Romance scammers targeted older adults for an additional $12 million in cryptocurrency. ****

Online romance scams are not only emotionally damaging but also financially costly:

  1. Individuals have reported losing a staggering $1.3 billion to romance scams in the past five years, making it the top category of fraud reported to the FTC. *
  2. The reported financial losses to romance scams in 2021 amounted to $547 million, which is over six times higher than the losses reported in 2017 ($87 million). *
  3. The median individual amount lost to a romance scam in 2021 was $2,400. *
  4. Financial losses due to romance scams increased by nearly 80% from 2020 to 2021. *
  5. Confidence/romance scams accounted for nearly $1 billion in losses in 2021, making it the third highest internet crime loss. **

While falling in love can be a beautiful experience, it is crucial to remain vigilant and informed about the warning signs of romance scams and follow essential online dating guidelines to protect oneself.

If you suspect that you have been a victim of a romance scam and would like to gather information for a complaint, do not hesitate to contact our private investigators in your area. Our Online Dating Scam Investigators are here to help.


* FTC, January 2022
** FBI, 2021 Internet Crime Report
*** BBB 2020 Scam Tracker Risk Report
**** FTC 2020-2021 Protecting Older Consumers Report
***** FBI, 2021 State Report

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