Are you looking for love this Valentine’s Day? Millions use online dating sites to meet people. Unfortunately, scam artists know this, and take advantage of those who are looking to start relationships.
Dating sites offer convenience and anonymity, which is what scam artists need. Con artists create fake profiles to build online relationships. The two will email, trade pictures, talk on the phone, and eventually make plans to meet. But, as the relationship builds, things start to change. The scam artist eventually convinces the victim to send money in the name of love. Better Business Bureau is warning singles to know the warning signs of “catfishing” or romance scams. Be wary of anyone who:
· 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.
· Asks you for money or credit card information.
· Sends you emails containing questionable links to third-party websites.
Here are a few things that people can do to help prevent being scammed on dating sites. Don’t wire money to cover:
· 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.