Looking for Love? So are Scammers.

Roses are red, violets are blue, tis’ the month of February and love is abloom. But heed the warning of BBB® not ALL love is true for there are unscrupulous, dishonest folks in our midst who would gladly take the warm feelings of affection for a quick buck or two.

How an online romance scam works: There are millionaire wannabes, homesick veterans, solemn seniors and so many others just waiting to connect with you online to share a lifetime of wonderful memories, special moments and endless charms. The chats get intense. Information and personal details are shared and there seems to be a connection.

Next is the arrangement to meet. However, it never happens. Something comes up. Excuses are made and the relationship is carried on primarily through email. Often the scammer entices a victim to send money to cover airfare for a promised meeting. Occasionally, an invented medical emergency is developed to get funds from a victim. The trouble is, the money does not go where it is intended and there is usually a request for more. The wallet opens farther.

Until there is either no more money to give or the victim realizes, there really is no romance to be had and the scammer moves on to the next person. While there are several legitimate online sites to use, BBB recommends you don’t fall for the next sweet talking scammer by following these tips:

  • They want to move conversations off the dating site immediately and use personal email or instant messaging.
  • The online profile sounds too good to be true or the profile may be suspiciously sketchy on details or the photos don’t seem genuine.

  • They profess love very quickly, even before you’ve spoken or met.

  • They claim to be a U.S. citizen working overseas — often in the military.

  • They make plans to visit, but are suddenly prevented by a traumatic family or business event — one which your money can overcome.

Love may be blind but money talks so be sure to start with a relationship you CAN trust. Visit bbb.org.

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About Sandra Guile

Sandra Guile is the Community Outreach Specialist for BBB. She promotes BBB’s message of marketplace ethics through public speaking engagements, presentations, media relations, press releases, web content, and other written materials. BBB|Cincinnati is located at 1 East 4th Street Suite 600 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 - to reach the office, call (513) 421-3015.