The Better Business Bureau is warning the public of online dating scams as Valentine’s Day approaches.
The BBB said this is the prime time of year where scammers look to play on the emotions of those looking for love or companionship. They will typically use dating sites like Match, eHarmony, and Tinder to find their targets.
The BBB is warning everyone to be wary of anyone who:
- Asks to talk or chat on an outside email or message service. This allows fraudsters to carry out scams without the dating site having a record of the encounter.
- Claims to be from this country but is currently traveling, living or working abroad. This makes it easy for scammers to avoid in-person meetings and opens the door for them to ask for travel money.
- Has a suspicious Facebook profile. Scammers often use the names and photos of real people to create fake Facebook profiles. Their profiles tend to have few friends and be rife with grammatical errors. Check to see when they joined. Recent pages are another red flag.
- Asks for money or credit card information. In some cases the scammer will claim an emergency, like a sick relative or stolen wallet, and will ask for money via wire transfer. The initial amount is often small, but the requests keep coming and growing. Alternatively, he may ask for airfare to come for a visit.
- Sends emails containing questionable links to third-party websites. Third-party links can contain malware that’s designed to steal personal information off a consumer’s computer.