BBB warns online users of dating scams that could break hearts and wallets
Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, an entire day devoted to showering your significant other with flowers, heart-shaped candy and grand romantic gestures. And while many people successfully find love online, Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin warns of online dating scams that could cost you your hard-earned money, all in the name of love.
Called “catfishing," the scammer builds a relationship with you and eventually gains your trust. Scammers typically create fake profiles on social media sites, dating sites or apps using pictures of real people and then assuming a false identity. After a few days or weeks of back-and-forth messaging, the scammer starts asking for personal information or money. In some cases, the scammer resorts to extortion and threats if you don’t pay them money or help launder money.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), romance scams conned victims nationwide out of more than $200 million in 2015. In Texas, of those who reported this scam, victims reported losing $260,850 to BBB Scam Tracker last year. Most victims reported being contacted via email and sent money using a wire transfer service.
To avoid any heartbreak, BBB warns of these red flags in a catfish scam:
For those in search of love online, BBB offers the following tips: