Typically, Valentines Day is all about love and chocolates.
South Bend Chocolate Company General Manager Cherie Lursen says, “busiest day of the year.”
Granger Florist Lead Floral Designer Candace Reeder says, “They want something different, you know, not your typical dozen roses.”
But the Federal Ttrade Commission warns about an unwanted surprise from your sweetheart.
Earlier this week, the agency announcing a surge in romance-related scams.
And the numbers aren’t for the faint of heart.
More than 21,000 people were victims last year; that’s up from 8,500 just three years prior.
The financial loss during that period quadrupling to $143 million dollars last year or about $2,600 per victim.
For those 70 and older, that number leaps to $10,000.
Louisville Better Business Bureau Bruce Gadansky says, “They prey on people that are lonely. That are in need of somebody to talk to.”
These cons usually begin on the internet with criminals creating phony profiles on dating sites or social media.
They generally woo and build trust with the victim until they see an opportunity to ask for money.
The funds are often wired or given as gift cards, which allows the scammer quick and anonymous access to cash, making them hard to track down.
Other times, they’ll use your personal information to facilitate identity theft.
The FTC says these suitor scams generated more losses than any other consumer fraud reported to the agency.
If you are a victim or know someone who is a victim contact the FBI.