By Danielle Hale, Marketing & Communication Manager at BBB of Northeast CaliforniaI was on my way to the gym with a buddy of mine the other day, and he started telling me about a girl he met on Tinder. The two ‘matched’ on the app and began chatting immediately. A few minutes into the conversation, the woman suggested they continue their chat outside of the app, and the two exchanged phone numbers. After text messaging back and forth for a few minutes, the user on the other end suggested meeting up later that night. My friend was hesitant because she was coming on so strongly, and after questioning her a little bit she said that he could ‘verify’ the legitimacy of her profile with a third-party site. He tried getting onto the website, and after a few failed attempts was able to gain access to the site she was talking about. He was asked to enter his email address so that they could verify his identity first, which he did, but then he was prompted to enter his bank account and debit card numbers. Recognizing it as a scam, he closed the site and reported the user to Tinder. Typically internet criminals will spend weeks - even months - chatting with their victims before inevitably asking for money. They usually have some sob story to go along with their monetary plea (a sick family member that needs the money for medical bills, or a business venture that’s gone wrong). But this particular scam artist spent less than an hour trying to get my friend’s banking information. Which begs the question: Are scam artists getting desperate? Or just impatient? Regardless of their motives or methods, internet users everywhere should be wary of the people they talk to online, and know how to recognize the signs of a scam: Fast feelings. Although internet criminals may spend months talking to victims, they oftentimes will develop ‘feelings’ pretty quickly. In a hurry to get off the site or app. Scam artists will try to move away from whatever platform you start out on (in this case it was Tinder), and will usually want to communicate via text message or email instead. They refuse to talk on the phone or via video chat. Scam artists will hardly ever get on the phone, and will avoid video chatting at all costs. And good luck getting them to meet you in person!Hard luck stories. They often say they need a substantial amount of money for a sick family member, or a business that’s hurting - don’t fall for it!In the end, protect yourself from being a victim by never sending your money or personal information to people you don’t know, and if you’re still not sure whether the person you are talking to is an actual sweetheart or a con artist, contact your local Better Business Bureau using the BBB Locator. Learn more about romance scams and report them at bbb.org/scamtracker.