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Romance Scams May Steal Your Heart and Money

Romance Scams May Steal Your Heart and Money - The Beacon

07-2015

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By: Amanda

Romance Scams May Steal Your Heart and Money

Online dating is a popular way to meet a potential soulmate. Your BBB® wants to remind you that it is also a popular place for scammers to meet potential victims. While you may be looking for love, these scammers are often looking for money and/or personal information.

How the Scam Works:

Scammers set up fake profiles which may include a fake picture or even a real picture stolen from someone else. They will often profess love early on and then will pull your heartstrings with made-up stories about how they need money-often times for an emergency, hospital bills or travel. They will then ask you to wire money to them in order to “help” them out of their bind. Unfortunately for the victim, the scammer will either disappear with the money or will continue to request money. Some people have lost thousands on these scams before they start to ask questions.

Now, it seems, that some scammers are now even involving their victims in bank fraud. According to the FTC, “the scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims. After they form a “relationship,” they come up with reasons to ask their love interest to set up a new bank account. The scammers transfer stolen money into the new account, and then tell their victims to wire the money out of the country. Victims think they’re just helping out their soulmate, never realizing they’re aiding and abetting a crime.”

So how do you protect yourself?

By looking for some warning signs that an online love interest might not be real. You should be leery, if they ask you to:

-chat off of the dating site immediately by using personal email, text or phone

-wire money

-set up a new bank account

Also beware of those that:

-claim they are from the U.S. but are currently overseas

-claim instant feelings of love

-ask for your address, social security number, credit card or bank account numbers

-ask you to forward checks or packages

If you keep those warning signs in mind, you may find someone to love instead of an empty heart and bank account.

For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/Evansville.

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Amanda

Amanda is the Director of Investigations & Information Services and is a regular contributor to the consumer education blog. She is one of our go-to colleagues for answering complex consumer inquires. Amanda also manages our charity reporting program.