A relationship scam starts simply. Two people meet online, usually through a dating site. They email, trade pictures, talk on the phone, and soon they’re making plans to meet… and maybe even to get married. But as the relationship get stronger, things start to change.
Dating sites offer convenience and anonymity, which is just what scammers
need. You may feel you get to know someone through photos, email or
chatting, but it’s easy for the person at the other end of the keyboard
to conceal the truth. Many people find true love via online dating
sites, but there are red flags to watch for that may indicate you’re
dealing with a scammer. You may have just been "catfished."
Better Business Bureau is warning singles to know the warning signs of “catfishing,” or romance scams. Be wary of anyone who:
Asks to talk or chat on an outside email or messaging service. Oftentimes, this allows fraudsters to carry out scams without the dating site
having a record of the encounter. Remember that scammers play on
emotion… and romance is certainly a strong emotion. Anytime people are
vulnerable, fraudsters find opportunity.
Claims to be from this country but is currently traveling, living or working abroad. Scammers come up with all kinds of excuses why they can’t meet in
person just yet. Be cautious of online daters who claim to be called
away suddenly, or to be in the military and stationed overseas.
Asks you 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 you to wire money. The first wire
transfer is small but the requests keep coming and growing. Or he may
ask for airfare to come for a visit. The payback promises are empty; the money’s gone, and so is he.
Sends you emails containing questionable links to third-party websites. Third-party links can contain malware that’s designed to steal personal information off your computer. Scammers may use third party links that
look credible, but in reality, they only link to viruses that can lead
to identity theft.
To find out more about scams and to read up on the latest, check out
BBB Scam Stopper.