Online dating sites are popular ways to meet someone new. Unfortunately, scammers sometimes use this platform to try to steal your heart and your money.
Here’s how these scams typically work. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people. They profess their love early on, even though they have never met you. They encourage you to communicate with them via email, phone or IM, rather than through the online dating site, so that the dating service won’t have a record of the conversation. They often claim to be traveling, living or working abroad to explain why they are unable to meet in person. Once they have your romantic interest and your trust, they make up stories about how they urgently need money and ask you to wire it to them. Your money disappears, along with your new romantic partner.
Tips to avoid romance scams:
- If an online date asks you to send money, it is a scam.
- Be suspicious if an online romance is getting very serious but the person is never able to meet face-to-face.
- Never agree to open a bank account for someone, transfer money or re-ship goods they send you. These are signs of money laundering, which is a criminal offense.
Read more about romance scams in this study conducted by the Better Business Bureau: Online Romance Scams: A BBB Study on How Scammers Use Impersonation, Blackmail, and Trickery to Steal From Unsuspecting Daters.