Valentine’s Day is a day for romance, but it can also be a time for scammers to take advantage of those looking for love online
The Better Business Bureau is urging consumers be careful before letting their hearts – and their money – get stolen.
Don’t be a catfish.
In a documentary “Catfish” and a MTV reality show with the same name, a catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not by using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, especially to pursue deceptive online romances.
The BBB and Western Union offer consumers tips on how to avoid relationship scams.
Be on your guard
Only send money to people you have met in person. Be cautious with people you meet online, even if you correspond with them via e-mail or phone. Be wary of anyone who asks you to leave the dating website immediately to continue your conversation through e-mail or instant messaging, as this allows fraudsters to carry out their scam without the dating site having a record of your encounter.
Be cautious if someone claims to be local but is currently out of the country
Fraudsters could be operating from overseas, making it more difficult for authorities to track them down. Never give your banking information to people that you have not met in person or businesses that you don’t know.
Always verify every emergency situation before sending money
Fraudsters can trick their victims in a variety of ways. Sometimes they instantly express feelings of love and other times they lead their victims on for a while. No matter how much your relationship might seem like the real thing, you should be suspicious if someone starts asking for information such as credit card, bank, or government ID numbers or requesting you to send money.
For more information on scams, check out the BBB Scam Stopper at www.bbb.org/scam.