Attorney General Kris Mayes Warns Against Online Romance Scams

PHOENIX –As Valentine’s Day approaches, Attorney General Kris Mayes urges all Arizonans to protect themselves from romance scams, also known as confidence fraud, which are meant to play on the heartstrings of unwitting victims.

FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center reports that 651 Arizona victims reported losses of more than $20.9 million in 2021 from romance scams -- a 65% increase from the $12 million reported losses from 2020. In 2022, Americans lost $1.3 billion to romance scams, up from $730 million in 2020 according to the Federal Trade Commission. The median victim lost $4,400 to such scams in 2022. However, these figures account just for reported losses – and because these crimes frequently go unreported, the actual figures are likely much higher.

“Many of these scammers are very skilled at reeling people in to earn their trust and take advantage. Seniors are especially vulnerable, and oftentimes these scams go unreported because people feel embarrassed. I want to encourage everyone in Arizona to never be afraid to file a complaint if you’ve been scammed. We are here to help you,” said Attorney General Mayes. “Knowing the warning signs can help you protect yourself online.”

Some warning signs of romance scams include: 

  • The scammer is quick to profess love.
  • The scammer's profile contains vague information and few images.
  • The scammer is quick to profess love.
  • The scammer asks for money, particularly through gift cards or cryptocurrency.
  • The scammer asks to move to a different communication platform.
  • The scammer makes plans to meet, but cancels due to an "emergency."

Attorney General Mayes added that individuals should never send money, gift cards, or cryptocurrency to someone they met on a dating app or social media platform and to be careful when sharing personal information online.

If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website. If you need a complaint form sent to you, you can contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431. Fraud can also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission or FBI.