Consumers are urged to be aware of fake online profiles, which may be used to gain the trust of online users looking love to scam them out of money.
Using singles and dating websites, scam artists are pretending to be people looking for relationships. They often steal photos from social networking websites and claim to share similar interests with their victims. With social networking becoming ever prevalent in today's society, scammers have a large number of people to prey on.
"Every year, scam artists use romance schemes to generate millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims, which makes it vital for consumers to exert caution when using online dating services." said Toby Barfield, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau. "Scam artists are constantly coming up with new ways to trick victims, and are even going as far as creating phony dating websites."
Users of online dating sites have been urged to look out for the following warning signs when looking for romance this Valentine's Day.
A love interest is unable to meet you
Scammers are often unwilling to meet their victims and will more often than not only communicate via the internet. A common excuse is they are unable to meet owing to work commitments abroad.
They share a lot of similar interests
Typically scammers spend a lot of time finding out about their victims likes and interests and will come across as very charming and sensitive in order to gain trust. They are also very quick to talk about love and serious relationships.
There is a sudden emergency
Once the relationship has been developed, scam artists will often claim that there has been an emergency and they need the assistance. The emergency often involves a family member's health, and they ask you to wire money to them because they are unable to access their account.
If the person you are in contact with seems suspicious, avoid giving them any personal information. BBB also recommends doing research beforehand to make sure the dating service you are using is legitimate.