Money Can’t Buy Love? Sweetheart Scam Swindles Unsuspecting Women Out of Thousands

  
     
January 25, 2013
SACRAMENTO, Ca.,  – Better Business Bureau warns online daters to be wary of potential love matches requesting money after two women report wiring thousands of dollars to an alleged Sacramento business owner they met online. 
 
A Citrus Heights woman told Better Business Bureau that after several weeks of romantic emails, poetry exchanges and brief phone calls, the supposed owner of a computer store that she met through an online dating site requested to borrow money. 
 
“He shared with me that he was working with the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS to obtain permits to receive international shipments of computers worth $1.5 million,” said the woman. “He discovered he needed to pay $32,000 in tariffs. He was short $10,000.”
 
After the man promised to pay her back, she wired $2,000. The man later requested she wire more money and, when she refused, ceased communication with her. 
 
“I went to the business address and it does not exist. No such business,” grieved the woman. “I would love to see my money returned, but do not anticipate it. He makes elderly women victims with his sweet talk, poetry and professing love.”
 
Another woman’s family filed a complaint with Better Business Bureau in July 2012 alleging a similar situation. 
 
“My mother, a recent widow, is in contact with (the man),” wrote the daughter of the victim. “He has already gotten thousands of dollars from her.” The woman allegedly attempted to retrieve the wired funds, but had no luck.
 
“Some online suitors may be more attracted to your wallet,” said Gary Almond, president of BBB serving northeast California. “If you choose to date online, be wary of wiring funds, meeting right away and those who try to get too close too quickly.”
 
BBB advises those pursuing online dating to consider the following tips:
 
Never wire money to online sweethearts claiming a need for funds related to travel, medical emergencies, visas, taxes or financial losses. 
 
Be wary of love interests who want to leave the dating site immediately to use a personal email account. 
 
Think things through when scouting love matches online. Be leery of those who claim immediate love, make excuses to not talk on the phone or refuse to meet in person after a lengthy period of online communication. 
 
If you have been a victim of a “sweetheart” scam, report the incident to the FBI, FTC and your state attorney general
 
For more scam alerts and consumer information, follow BBB on Facebook at facebook.com/necalbbb.
 
###

Reporters: For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, contact Cailin Peterson at 916-307-4199.
 
As a business-supported nonprofit organization, Better Business Bureau's mission is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBB sets standards for ethical business behavior, helps consumer identify reliable businesses through BBB Business Reviews, sets standards for truthful advertising, evaluates and provides reviews of charities, educates consumers, and offers dispute resolution services. More than 87 million consumers rely on BBB for Business Reviews, consumer tips and scam alerts. To learn more, please visit www.necal.bbb.org.