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Romance scams: How to avoid issues when you’re looking for love | #datingscams | #lovescams

Valentine’s Day is just right around the corner and love is in the air.

But, if you are in the market for romance, you need to be careful and take steps to protect yourself, according to the Alabama Securities Commission.

“Finding a significant other online is becoming more and more commonplace. The issue is that scammers flock to these platforms to tug on the heart and purse strings of individuals looking for love,” said ASC Director Joseph P. Borg.

According to the FBI, consumers lost more than $133.4 million to romance scams in the first months of 2021 alone. Most of the scams include a fraudster creating a fake profile on a dating or social media website to initiate a romantic relationship with another user. Once they have gained the user’s trust, they will ask for money to pay for a supposed medical or other emergency. The fraudster will continue the relationship as long as the victim keeps sending their money.

To protect your heart – and your wallet – ASC is offering some safety tips:

1. Never give out personal financial information over the phone, on social media or by email.

2. The red flags that someone is a potential romance scammer include: numerous spelling errors, someone who quickly professes their love, someone who claims to be a U.S. citizen working in a foreign country needing money for an emergency, and someone eager to move your conversation off the platform.

3. If you are considering a potential new love interest, investigate their digital footprint. If they are using stock photos, it’s likely a con artist.

4. If someone wants you to send them payment via gift card, green dot card or any other way using instantly transferable funds, it is seldom legitimate. Plus, most online dating platforms have strict rules about user-to-user money transfers.

5. Always get a second opinion about a love interest. Family and friends are best at seeing our blind spots, particularly where romance is concerned.

6. Never send money to someone you haven’t met in person. Even if they claim to need the money for travel expenses to visit you.

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