Columbus, OH - With Valentine’s Day approaching, there are many apps, websites and local events to help singles find their special someone. Unfortunately, scammers may be searching for a match as well. BBB warns anyone looking for love to be wary of romance scams.
A Central Ohio woman reported losing $2,900 to a romance scammer she met on a popular dating site. She told BBB the scammer claimed to live in Scotland, and offered to put $11 million dollars of stock in her name. He instructed her to open an offshore account and wire some money first. To make the payment, she even pawned some precious personal items.
Because scammers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities, romance scams can easily happen to anyone. BBB has tips on how to spot a romance scam before it’s too late.
Be wary of any dating prospect who:
Always has an excuse to postpone meeting face-to-face. Someone who is really interested in a relationship will want to see you in person. Be wary of someone who is constantly "traveling" or happens to be located overseas.
Has a photo that doesn't match his/her profile. Be on the lookout for big discrepancies. For example, a scammer may describe their fake persona as blonde but uses a photo of a brunette.
Claims to be from this country but is currently traveling, living or working abroad. Scammers frequently pretend to be temporarily working or stationed overseas.
Has a suspicious Facebook profile. Scammers will often use the names and photos of real people to create fake Facebook profiles. Their profiles tend to have few friends and many grammatical errors. Also check to see when they joined. Recent pages are another red flag.
Asks you for money or credit card information. Scammers often claim an emergency, like a sick relative or stolen wallet, and will ask you to wire money. The first wire transfer is small but the requests keep coming and growing.
To learn more tips about avoiding romance scams, visit bbb.org/romancescam. Any consumers who have experienced romance scams can report their experiences to BBB Scam Tracker to help protect and educate others.
Since 1912, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB serving Central Ohio was founded in 1921, and serving 21 counties in Ohio, is one of 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico.