BBB Media Release- Valentines day Scam

February 14, 2017

Don’t get lured in by Catphishing Scams this Valentine’s Day

Edmonton, AB (February 12, 2015): With Canadians losing nearly $14,000,000 to romance scams last year*, BBB urges singles to exercise caution when using online dating sites. From fake profiles to requests for money, online dating opens the window of opportunity for scammers masked as sweethearts to tug on your heart and purse strings.  

Catphishing, a common title for online romance schemes, is when someone attempts to establish a romantic relationship with you by gaining your affection and trust, only to lure you out of your hard-earned money.

"People who aren't in a relationship may feel especially lonely around Valentine’s Day, so they turn to online dating sites to make a quick connection," says Ron Mycholuk, Public Relations Manager for BBB of Central and Northern Alberta. "Unfortunately, there are bad people out there taking advantage of your kindness, generosity and hope for a relationship. If you're suspicious about the true intentions of your Valentine, educate yourself on the signs of a catphishing scam to ensure you won't be left broken-hearted and empty-handed."

 BBB offers these 10 telltale signs of romance scams:

  1. Too hot to be true - Pay attention to vast age differences. If you're a smashing 65 and you're approached by a tantalizing 20-something, it's mostly likely a red flag. Be aware that catphishers often refrain from using their own photos.
  2. In a hurry to get off of the site - In order to lower their risk of getting caught, catphishers will be anxious to leave the website but continue contact through email, instant messaging, phone calls or other private forms of direct contact.
  3. Dropping the "L" word too soon - Catphishers are in a hurry to win your affections and will tell you they love you sooner than you expect or are comfortable with. They may also tell you they've never felt this way before and are anxious to plan a future together as a sign of long-term commitment.
  4. They'll talk about trust regularly - Catphishers will talk about how important trust is to them in an attempt to prepare you for a request for money that they will promise to pay back.
  5. Avoiding meeting in person - Since catphishers are using fake identities, they will use numerous excuses not to meet in person so as to avoid questions, suspicions or getting caught.
  6. They live far away - Catphishers will often claim to live far away to avoid meeting, but may agree to meet if you foot the bill for their trip. Never give or wire money to someone you've never met or don't know well.
  7. Working out of town - Yet another excuse not to meet or verify their identity.
  8. Broken English - If your Valentine says they are from your hometown, or close by, but have poor grammar or spelling chances are they're not telling you the truth.
  9. Hard luck stories - Catphishers may hint of financial struggles such as their heat being cut off or their car being stolen in an attempt to gain your sympathy and money.

10. Asking for money - Catphishers are clever and manipulative. If a new love interest asks you for money, or asks you to send or receive money, the answer should always be no, even if you feel close to them.


*Financial Crime Trend Bulletin: Romance Scams

For more information on romance scams and more, visit


Consumer tips and media releases can also be found on our Homepage, Blog and News Centre. Please feel free to subscribe to our RSS feed to receive BBB news at your computer. We also have a Facebook Fan Page and you can follow us on Twitter.

As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau of Central and Northern Alberta is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 65 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews to help them find trustworthy businesses across North America. Visit for more information.


* Trade-mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus used under License


For media inquiries please contact:


Ron Mycholuk, Public Relations Manager

BBB of Central and Northern Alberta

Phone: (780) 488-6632 Ext. 233 Toll Free: 1 (800) 232-7298