BARABOO, Wis. – The Sauk County Sheriff’s Office Friday warned online daters about romance scams, a type of online fraud targeting dating websites that is the rise.
In a press release, Sheriff Chip Meister urged online daters to use skepticism in the online dating process to avoid being victimized. According to the press release, dating websites such as Match.com, Badoo.com, AreYouInterested.com, OkCupid.com and similar sites can serve as a platform for scammers to choose victims by posing as potential romantic partners.
The press release said victims commonly report the fraudulent online relationships begin with general conversation before the scammer escalates the conversation to talking about strong feelings. Many victims overlook red flags in the rush of emotion.
Following these initial stages, the press release said scammers will begin asking for money under the guise that they are in a foreign country or are in an emergency. Scammers commonly ask for money through Western Union, Money Grams or GreenDot cards.
The release cited counterfeit checks, reshipping, shipping and identity theft as the main types of fraud victims encounter.
Internet daters should meet potential romantic interests face to face to avoid fraud. If relationships develop without physical meetings, the release warns that “if it seems too good to be true, it most likely is.”
According to the release, there is little law enforcement can do about romance scams that originate out of the country and stopping the fraud before it happens is the most effective approach.