BBB issues Valentine’s Day alert: Beware of Internet Romantic Scams

February 03, 2011

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, overseas scammers are preying on those looking for love, reports Seattle’s KOMO news.

Using singles and dating websites, these scammers pretend to be people looking for relationships, often stealing photos from modeling and social network sites. They use kind words and pretend to share values in order to gain the trust of victims. Many times, con artists will send their “sweethearts” flowers and gifts purchased with stolen credit cards.

These romance schemes trick thousands every year, generating millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims. The scammers are rarely prosecuted because most of the time they are overseas where American investigators cannot take action.

If you’re using the internet to find love and the person fits the following description, you’re likely the target of a scam:

• Only communicates through email, instant message and cell phone.
• Is never able to physically meet you in person.
• Charming, understanding, flattering, sensitive, caring.
• Has a career or life circumstances that takes him or her overseas.
• Is quick to develop the relationship and talk of love.
• Has a young child, typically a boy or girl between the ages of 5 and 12.
• Has a sudden emergency, often involving the child's health.
• Has a reason they cannot get their money and needs your help.
• If you help them once, they need more money of a greater amount.
• If you have no money, they find a "client" who can send you money orders, with instructions to wire the money to them. (The checks are counterfeit.)

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