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Valentine's Day warning: Romance scams will cost you big-time

The FTC wants you to beware of bogus suitors asking for money.

Studio shot of smart phones with broken heart on screen

The FTC warns against giving strangers money online. 

Jamie Grill / Getty

Cupid's arrow could be aiming for your wallet instead of your heart.

Folks lost $143 million to romance scams in 2018, according to a report from the US Federal Trade Commission out Tuesday. That's more than any other type of consumer fraud, and it's way up from $33 million in 2015.

The report said scammers will create fake accounts on not just dating apps, but social media platforms as well, and eventually ask for money for things like an emergency medical procedure. They might also hit you up for money purportedly to fund travel to see you, with the scammers claiming to be abroad or far away.

"The median individual loss to a romance scam reported in 2018 was $2,600, about seven times higher than the median loss across all other fraud types," the report said. 

While those most likely to be affected are between the ages of 40 and 69, the FTC advises everyone to use caution -- don't send money to people you haven't met in person, do reverse image searching of profile pictures, talk things over with friends and family, and just take it slow.

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