If your new online love seems too good to be true, the FBI is warning that, well, you might be right. The agency put out a Public Service Announcement last week to raise awareness of a new trend in online romance scams. In the first seven months of the year, the FBI says it received more than 1,800 complaints about a grift that involves getting victims to invest or trade cryptocurrency and has resulted in approximately $133.4 million in losses. 

The scam works like this: After establishing a relationship with a victim on dating apps or through social media, the scammer will suggest that they can help the victim make money through cryptocurrency. They’ll use some sort of fake site to secure an initial investment and then let the victim withdraw a profit to further secure their trust. From there, the scammer will convince the victim to invest more—and then more, claiming there is a need for additional funding to cover taxes, fees, or meet a minimum balance. The victim is never able to withdraw any money again, and the scammer will disappear when the investments stop. 

This new approach draws on some other classic Internet grifts—the promise of wealth in particular recalls the notorious Nigerian prince emails—but can be more difficult to spot due to its personalization. Experts say social media in particular has become a rich resource for those looking to find and target victims since it can provide plenty of easily-accessible personal information…

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