That's a stat now receiving renewed interest in the wake of this month's announcement from federal officials, per CNN, that 80 people had been charged in connection with a scam operation that successfully snatched millions.
Citing the most recent Federal Trade Commission stats on romance-related scams, the report states that more than 21,000 people were tricked into handing over a total of $143 million via various nefarious means from assorted parties last year. When compared with the total hauls for previous years, there's been a quite measurable increase over the last few years, with losses estimated to have jumped fourfold from 2015 to 2018.
In a handy guide to scam avoidance originally released just before this year's reliably vomitous edition of Valentine's Day, Lisa Weintraub Schifferle—attorney for the FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education—pointed out that 2018 saw Americans lose more money via online romance scams than any other type of scam that was reported that year.
Scams, in general, are of concern for the FTC. The commission has also sent out public warnings on scammers who work under the guise of crowdfunding campaigns, disaster donations, IRS debts, and more.
Do better, everyone. If a scammy scam from a scamming scammer feels like a scam, tell the scam police right here.