How #one can #Keep away from #Falling #Prey to #On-line #Romance #Scams

If you’re in a romance scam, Patterson says tell someone you trust, don’t wire money, and make a complaint to the FBI’s internet complain center.

The Better Business Bureau is warning us not to fall victim to an online romance scam.

According to the Better Business Bureau people have racked up to almost $1 billion in losses over the past three years.

Think before going from public to private – Be hesitant if the conversation moves from a monitored site like social media or a dating site to a more private form of communication like email or instant messaging. It can happen to anybody who is gay or straight.

The BBB believes more can be done to protect consumers, such as having online dating sites contact customers who have interacted with a fraudulent profile, increasing worldwide cooperation for prosecutions, encouraging friends and family to be cautious with online dating, and emphasizing that people should not wire money to strangers.

BBB told News4 that roughly 1 million people have been victimized by online romance fraud scams.

“I found out very quickly that you have to be very careful on who you are talking to, and spend a lot of time with this person online, because they may not be at all who they say they are”, Fundenberger said.

To attract women, men will oftentimes claim to be financially successful and often single fathers in need of help, while women will often attempt to attract men by claiming to be young, attractive and in need of financial assistance, the report said. It’s also recommended that people never send money to anyone they don’t know.

According to Bridget Patton, a spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Kansas City, women who are older, divorced, or widowed are the most common targets of romance scammers.

The BBB has reported that at any given moment there are 25,000 fraudsters online. Scammers prefer prepaid cards and money transfers. The scammer may try to use these to blackmail you into sending money.

Never send intimate photos or videos of yourself.

Common “catfishing” signs include: a social media profile that’s “too good to be true”, is overseas, expresses strong feelings early into the relationship and makes excuses to avoid face-to-face contact.

Online daters should also do some research on their potential love matches, as a “reverse image search” could turn up the same profile or profile picture on multiple sites.

Ask for details and get specifics like a photo with them holding something with their username on it. Then at some point, they claim there’s been an emergency and there’s a pitch for money.