BBB Warning: It’s Valentine’s Day! Is Your New Boo a Con Artist?

February 03, 2017

It’s February and love is in the air! But if your new boo is someone you met online, he or she could be a scammer… especially if you haven’t yet met in person. Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be wary year-round, but especially around Valentine’s Day when it may be tempting to let your guard down with an attractive stranger.

A relationship scam starts simply: You meet online at a dating site or on social media. Things click immediately and the “relationship” progresses quickly; you email, talk on the phone, trade pictures. Finally, you make plans to meet… maybe he or she has even mentioned marriage plans. But as the relationship gets stronger, the requests start to change. Your new love asks you to wire them money… it’s not much at first, but then the requests keep coming: their daughter needs emergency surgery; they need airfare to come for a visit, etc. The payback promises are empty; the money’s gone and, soon, so are they.

Awareness and education are the best line of defense against fraud, and consumers can protect themselves by applying common sense and not letting emotion get in the way. Anyone can fall victim. Fraudsters even coach potential victims to ignore warnings such as this! To avoid losing money to scammers, you should:


  • Send money to someone you haven’t met in person.
  • Provide banking information to people or businesses you don’t know.
  • Send money for an emergency situation without confirming that it’s a real emergency.
  • Send funds from a check in your account until it officially clears (which can take a week or more).


  • Stop and think – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Know the person you are sending money to. Only send money to people who you have met in person.
  • Be suspicious of someone who asks you to send money for an emergency by wire, prepaid money card, or gift card.

For more information

Check out our BBB Tip on Romance Scams.
Learn more about scams at
Report scams to BBB Scam Tracker (

Check out to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, report a scam, read tips, follow us on social media, and more!

Our thanks
 to BBB National Partner Western Union for providing support for this awareness campaign. Visit or call Western Union’s fraud hotline at 1-800-448-1492 to report wire fraud. Send suspicious phishing emails referencing Western Union to