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Looking for love? Beware of 'romance scams' reported in Lynchburg area

FTC: People reported losing $143 million to romance scams in 2018

Photo: Federal Trade Commission - Consumer Information

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg police are warning people of "romance scams" and say they've gotten several reports of them over the past few weeks.

Police say the scammer typically poses as an interested party, befriending the victim and saying nice things to gain the victim's trust.

Eventually, the scammer will start to ask for small favors such as a little money, a gift card or for the victim to forward a package to them, according to Lynchburg police.

In 2018, people reported losing $143 million to romance scams, which is a higher total than for any other type of scam reported to the FTC, according to the FTC.

The requests can go a step further, escalating to a point where the scammer is asking for larger sums of money and personal information like Social Security numbers and banking information.

Scammers might say the money is for a phone bill, a plane ticket, medical bills or an emergency. Lynchburg police say there is always "another excuse or another disaster."

If you think you've been a victim of a romance scam, the FTC recommends stopping talking to the person immediately, search for specific details about the suspected scammer online to see if others have reported the same experience and file a complaint with the FTC.

Lynchburg police say if you think you've been the victim of a romance scam, please call 434-455-6041.