DatingDefrauding Jan 2022According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), in 2020 alone, people who experienced romance scams lost over $600M. Romance scammers target people looking for love on dating apps and social media. But how can you tell the difference between dating or defrauding?

From February 7 to March 11, join agencies from across the government as they help you protect your heart and your wallet. Learn how to recognize romance scams and report them to the right authorities.

Explore the ‘Dating or Defrauding?’ campaign, what agencies are participating in the effort and where to go online or on the phone for help.

Participating Agencies

Participating agencies will promote information week-by-week during the campaign and serve as subject matter experts on the topics of anti-fraud education and consumer protection. 

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) oversees the nation’s commodity futures and other derivatives markets. Its mission is to promote the integrity, resilience, and vibrancy of the U.S. derivatives markets through sound regulation. The CFTC also has general enforcement authority when there is fraud or manipulation involved in a contract for sale or delivery of a commodity used in interstate commerce. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ​​aims to make consumer financial markets work for consumers, responsible providers, and the economy as a whole. CFPB protects consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and takes action against companies that break the law. We arm people with the information, steps, and tools that they need to make smart financial decisions.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) ​​is an independent agency created by Congress to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation's financial system. The FDIC insures deposits; examines and supervises financial institutions for safety, soundness, and consumer protection; makes large and complex financial institutions resolvable; and manages receiverships. The FDIC urges consumers to stay current on the latest banking scams related to romance, fake banks, counterfeit checks, impostor scams, phishing, and identity theft. It is important for consumers to identify the risks of scams, learn how avoid them, so they can protect themselves and their finances.

The U.S. Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The mission of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use, combat money laundering and its related crimes including terrorism, and promote national security through the strategic use of financial authorities and the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC is the nation’s primary consumer protection agency, with a broad mandate to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive acts or practices in the marketplace. The FTC also protects the public through education and outreach on consumer protection issues.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) works to strengthen border security and prevent the illegal movement of people, goods, and funds into, within, and out of the U.S. The financial investigations portfolio is extensive, and includes cases involving financial fraud, such as those involving vulnerable populations targeted by online romance scams.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the federal law enforcement, crime prevention, and security arm of the U.S. Postal Service; our mission is to ensure public trust in the U.S. Mail. We support and protect the U.S. Postal Service and its employees, infrastructure, and customers by enforcing over 200 federal laws related to crimes that utilize the U.S. Mail. We defend our nation’s mail system from illegal or dangerous use and provide the highest quality of protection and investigative support to the U.S. Postal Service and its customers. This year’s romance scam initiative will highlight several different schemes, all with the goal to separate unsuspecting consumers from their money.

Timeline - Highlight Weeks by Agency

Each week, one or two agencies will promote information on their social media and other public-engagement channels about romance scams. Follow the channels below for more information throughout the campaign.

Date Range Agency

February 7 - 11, 2022

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

U.S. Postal Inspection Service

February 14 - 18, 2022    

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

February 21 - 25, 2022    

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

March 7 - 11, 2022

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Supporting Agencies

Supporting agencies will amplify information from participating agencies through data sharing, social media, email or other delivery channels.

Department of Defense Office of Financial Readiness supports service members and their families throughout each phase of their military journeys and leads the department’s financial readiness efforts to support a mission-ready force through policy, programs and advocacy.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) provides the public with a reliable and convenient reporting mechanism to submit information about internet criminal activity to the FBI. 

USAGov is your front door to government information and services and works to equalize government. Through a bilingual website, USA.gov and USAGov en Español, contact center and public-engagement channels, USAGov works on the idea that the public’s experience with the government should be easy, trusted and reliable. 

Public-Facing Materials by Agency

Agency + Website Social media handles Romance scam materials
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

@CFTC on Twitter

CFTC - U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Facebook

Customer Advisory: Avoid Forex, Precious Metals, and Digital Asset Romance Scams

Submit a fraud complaint to the CFTC

6 Steps to Take after Discovering Fraud

Check Registrations and Backgrounds Before You Trade

Signs of Fraud

Customer Advisory: Understand the Risks of Virtual Currency Trading

Customer Advisory: There’s Nothing to Like About Scammers on Social Media

Fraud Advisory: Foreign Currency (Forex) Fraud

Before You Trade - Article

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

@CFPB on Twitter

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Facebook

Romance scams fact sheet (PDF). Also available in Spanish (PDF)

Romance scams placemat (PDF). Also available in Spanish (PDF).

Money Smart for Older Adults - main website [joint with FDIC]

Bulk order site for Money Smart for Older Adults print materials

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

@FDICgov on Twitter

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on Facebook

@fdicgov on Instagram

Visit the BankFind database to confirm your financial institution is FDIC-insured.

Enhanced version of Money Smart for Older Adults guide (from FDIC and CFPB) - updated resource guide for free download (PDF); press release

Beware of fake checks - landing page

Spot FDIC imposter scams - landing page

Avoid phishing, smishing, vishing, and other scams - landing page

How Money Smart are you? online game

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

@FTC on Twitter

@LaFTC on Twitter

Federal Trade Commission on Facebook

Go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov to report fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Also available in Spanish at ReporteFraude.ftc.gov.


Romance scams article (English)
Romance scams article (Spanish)


Video about romance scams (English)
Video about romance scams (Spanish)

U.S. Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)

 

Through the Rapid Response Program, FinCEN—in partnership with the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and foreign financial intelligence units (FIUs)—recovers funds stolen as the result of certain cyber-enabled financial crime schemes, including romance scams.  The program uses FinCEN’s authority to share financial intelligence rapidly with counterpart FIUs and encourages foreign authorities to interdict the fraudulent transactions, freeze funds, and stop and recall payments.  Through these collaborative efforts, FinCEN has successfully assisted in the recovery of over $1.1 billion since the program's inception in 2015.  To initiate the RRP, victims should not contact FinCEN directly but should expeditiously contact their financial institution and file a complaint with law enforcement.  Additional information on the RRP can be found here.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

@ICEgov on Twitter

@hsi_HQ on Twitter

Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Facebook

@icegov on Instagram

Anyone can report suspected criminal activity by calling the ICE Tip Line at: 866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423) or by completing our online ICE Tip Form.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service 

@uspispressroom on Twitter

U.S. Postal Inspection Service on Facebook

@postalinspectors on Instagram

U.S. Postal Inspection Service on YouTube

Romance Scams - Online & Offline Dating

Be smart! Online Dating Scams - PDF

For more information on scams and prevention tips, visit www.uspis.gov.

Subscribe to articles on the latest scams at www.uspis.gov/subscribe.

To report mail fraud or other postal-related crimes, please go to our website: www.uspis.gov/report or call 1-877-876-2455.

Official YouTube Videos

For more information about reporting scams, visit USA.gov. Get up-to-date help during the Dating and Defrauding campaign on USAGov’s outreach channels. Subscribe to official emails. For quick alerts and updates, follow @USAGov on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.