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Online romance scams are growing at a dizzying pace, raking in millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims across the United States.

Some of the scams drag on for months or years, and leave the victims crushed emotionally and financially. Just this week, federal officials announced that Americans lost $201 million to online romance scams last year — nearly a 40% jump since 2018.

Romance scams

Reports of romance scams more than doubled and reported losses increased more than fourfold from 2015 to 2018.

Here's how to avoid getting your heart and money stolen:

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