Millions of Americans use online dating sites, social media and chat rooms to meet people. And many forge successful relationships. But scammers also use these sites to meet potential victims.
Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin warns that scammers sometimes use online dating and social networking sites to try to convince people to send money in the name of love. In an online scam like this, the con artist creates a fake profile, gains the trust of an online love interest and then asks that person to wire money—usually to a location outside the United States.
A sweetheart scam, also referred to as “catfishing,” is when someone creates a false identity, usually through social media sites and online dating sites, in the hopes of luring someone into a deceptive romantic relationship.
Here are a few signs of a “catfishing” scam:
“Catfish” are looking for personal information and/or financial support. They put a lot of time and effort into building a fake persona and relationship with their victim(s). They’ve even been known to pose as members of the military to tug on heart strings just a little tighter.
Criminals typically ‘date’ victims over several months with poetry, flowers and other forms of flattery. They then lure victims off the dating site to communicate by email or instant message. Trust won, the perpetrators then present a crisis that requires money to resolve.
For those in search of love online, BBB offers the following tips: