BBB Advice: Proceed with Caution When Dating Online

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By Better Business Bureau

 Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Are you looking for love? Millions use dating and social networking sites to meet people. While many are looking to start a successful relationship, there are those using these sites to take advantage of others. Unfortunately, the anonymity of the internet makes it easy for con artists to use these sites to meet potential victims.

These con artists create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince victims (often seniors) to send money in the name of love. Better Business Bureau offers these tips to help you recognize when the relationship may not be what you think – especially when your “Sweetheart”

·        Wants to leave the dating site immediately and use personal email or telephone.

·        Claims love within moments of meeting you online.

·        Claims to be from the U.S. but is traveling overseas.

·        Plans to visit, but is prevented by some sort of emergency or deal gone bad.

Here are a few things that people can do to help prevent being scammed on dating sites. Don’t wire money to cover:

·        Travel

·        Medical emergencies

·        Hotel bills

·        Hospital bills for a child or other relative

·        Visas or other official documents

Don’t send money to tide someone over after a financial setback, and don’t do anyone a favor by making an online purchase or forwarding a package to another country. One request leads to another, and delays and disappointments will follow. In the end, the money will be gone along with the person you thought you knew.

You can report online relationship scams to the FBI’s IC3 at www.ic3.gov, to your State Attorney General, and to the Better Business Bureau.

For more information go to www.bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.